Holy Thursday retreat: Turning stones into bread
Imagine yourself in our Lord’s place:
You’ve worked hard for 3 long years,
and tonight of all nights, it all suddenly feels thankless.
To top it all, you know you’re in trouble:
Soon you will be arrested, put on trial,
and put to death.
Worse – and this is the unkindest cut of all –
it is one of your closest friends
who will betray you.
How would you feel? What would you do?
If our Lord was truly human – as we, in fact, do believe –
then he probably felt exactly as we would feel
in such a situation:
He would be hurt.
He would even be angry.
What did he do at the Last Supper?
When he was asked who His betrayer would be,
he put a morsel of bread into a dip
and offered it to Judas.
Most people think our Lord did that simply to identify his betrayer;
others even misinterpret it as the actual cause of Judas' sin (!)
because the Gospel says, "Then after the morsel,
Satan entered into Judas."
But many biblical scholars interpret that action of our Lord
as a gesture of reaching out to his would-be betrayer,
an act of friendship and also an invitation to Judas
to remember their friendship and to change his mind.
It was not the only effort our Lord exerted that night.
The Gospel according to John recounts the Washing of the Feet,
another significant – and surprising – gesture,
when our Lord humbled himself to wash the feet of the disciples
It almost seems like our Lord had a plan
to win Judas back that night.
It was, however, a plan that failed,
and when our Lord realized the futility of His action,
he finally said perhaps with resignation –
but certainly with great sadness:
“What you are going to do, do quickly.”
What the Lord had, in fact, done was:
He reached into his heart
and pulled out the rocks and stones
of hurt and anger there,
turned them into bread
to feed his betrayer.
In these changing times, courage and clarity become even more important.
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