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Today in Passion Week
Meditations, Reflections, Prayers

Passion Wednesday

Wednesday of Holy Pascha Week
On Wednesday of Holy Pascha Week, our Lord Jesus Christ spent the day in Bethany at the residence of Simon the leper. There, a woman, anointed our Lordís blessed body with fragrance.

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: Washing Peter's Feet

Wednesday in Holy Week
The figurative lamb is now to make way for the true one; the Pasch of this year will substitute the reality for the type; and Jesus' Blood, shed by the hands of wicked priests, is soon to flow simultaneously with that of victims which have been hitherto acceptable to God only because they prefigured the Sacrifice of Calvary.

Bible Reading:

Wednesday of the Passion Week

Opening Prayer:

O God, Who willed your Son to submit for our sake
to the yoke of the Cross,
so that you might drive from us the power of the enemy,
grant us, your servants, to attain the grace of the resurrection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

The Readings (alternate):

Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34; Matthew 26:14-25

Daily Meditation:

He freed us from the power of the enemy.
This is the last day of Lent.
It is "Spy Wednesday," remembering the day Judas asked,
"What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?"

We read the third song of the Servant who suffers.
And we sense the acceptance, the surrender and the peace of Jesus.
I can imagine the treachery and tranquility of this day,
as I go through the real life drama of my day.
I can begin to feel the joy of the liberation being offered me.

If I haven't done so already,
this can be a wonderful day to pray through the Stations of the Cross.

The Son of Man came not to be served,
but to serve
and to give his life
as a ransom for many.
Communion Antiphon Matthew 20:28

Wednesday Holy Week Reflections
by Laurence Freeman OSB

Toothache is bad enough. While it lasts, extreme physical pain blocks out the other stimuli of the world, good and bad. It becomes the centre of our field of perception. We can be annoyed that our minds are so absorbed by something so accidental; and also that it makes us so self-centred. We may say to ourselves that it won't last forever but while we are going through it is like a demanding animal that expects all our attention.

It is no only toothache of course. Great grief at the loss of someone we love weighs on our cardiac region and pierces the solar plexus exactly as a physical pain. The body is a sacrament and a medium of expression of our awareness at all levels of consciousness.

While they were eating he said 'I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me'

The experience of betrayal as many marriages and friendships testify is also terrible suffering.

Where does Jesus get this knowledge that he will be betrayed? We don't know. But he holds it with reserve. He does not demonise Judas as some of the gospel writers seem to do. The traitor's motives remain hidden and it is hard to forgive without insight into why someone in whom we had placed our trust and love throws it away.

If we do have that insight, as Jesus must have had, we are silent rather than condemnatory. And forgiveness rather than recrimination enters the damaged system of our relationships.

Wednesday Reflections from All Hallows in Leeds, England

Reading: John 13.21-32

Reflection

If we believe that Jesus knew all along what was going to happen, and if we believe that Judas was a mere puppet having to take his allotted role because he was part of the great plan laid down in Scripture, then I fear there can be no hope for us. This would mean that we are programmed, controlled, without freedom to grow or develop. It would also mean that we are quite beyond each other's reach, unable to choose intimacy or separation, closeness or distance, love or indifference Ö So Jesus leaves the upper room and goes out into the night, his heart breaking for Judas and weighted down with sorrow at the apparent indifference of the others to Judas' plight. It was as if they had been paralyzed by the apparent powerlessness of his own love: if Jesus could not keep Judas within their company, what hope had they? For Jesus, I suggest it must have felt very different. Why was it, he must have asked himself, that nobody, not even John whom he loved so dearly, had been able to say to Judas: 'We love you, you are one of us: where are you going? what are you intending to do?' Why was it that not one of them had seen that Jesus' impotent love needed the expression of theirs to regain its power? Why had they not been able to see that being truly human is impossible on your own?

Brian Thorne

Prayer

O Jesus, stretch forth your wounded hands over your people to heal and to restore, and to draw us to yourself and to one another in love. Amen.

Intercessions:

Blessed be God, the giver of salvation, who decreed that mankind should become a new creation in himself, when all would be made new. With great confidence let us ask him:
Lord, renew us in your Spirit.

Lord, you promised a new heaven and a new earth; renew us daily through your Spirit,
- that we may enjoy your presence for ever in the heavenly Jerusalem.
Help us to work with you to make this world alive with your Spirit,
- and to build on earth a city of justice, love and peace.
Free us from all negligence and sloth,
- and give us joy in your gifts of grace.
Deliver us from evil,
- and from slavery to the senses, which blinds us to goodness.

Closing Prayer:

My Savior,
do you invite me to share
in the glory of the resurrection?
Please stay with me
as I struggle to see
how accepting the crosses of my life
will free me from the power
of the one who wants only
to destroy my love and trust in you.

Help me to be humble and accepting
like your son, Jesus.
I want to turn to you
with the same trust he had in your love.
Save me, Lord. Only you can save me.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

Sources:
Creighton University Online Ministries - Praying Lent
The World Community for Christian Meditation (www.wccm.org)
All Hallows in Leeds, England
Lectionary of the Syriac Orthodox Church

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