…[O]n the night he was betrayed, [Jesus] took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 1 Cor. 11:23b-24
A Word of Hope
In their study of the last week of Jesus’ life, Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan assert that Holy Thursday was “filled with drama: In the evening Jesus eats a final meal with his disciples and prays for deliverance in Gethsemane; he is betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, and abandoned by the rest of his disciples. Arrested in darkness, he is then interrogated and condemned to death….all before dawn on Friday.”
But it is the last Passover meal, with its new mandate, that will be re-enacted all over the world. Again and again, in the words of institution before communion, we are reminded that on this night, “he was betrayed.” According to Barbara Brown Taylor, the betrayal is the deepest pain that Jesus experiences in these final days. Some of us know the spirit-crushing, heart-numbing blow that betrayal brings, the damage to trust, the how-could-you fury. Some never get over it, never close the door on that devastation but live with defended hearts forever.
But not Jesus. He models for us a deeper, wider love. He stays at the table and feeds everyone—Judas, Peter, you and me.
For Parker Palmer, there is a lesson about community here. Community will always disillusion us, he says. But in spiritual community this can be a good thing because it leads to a “clearer vision of ourselves and each other.”
“And the truth is that we can rely on God to make community among us even-and especially-when our own efforts fail….And here is the paradox: as we become disillusioned with community and more dependent on God, we become more available for true community with each other….
Seeing ourselves and each other clearly, yet seeing God’s continual healing presence among us, we can begin to experience the fruits of the Spirit with each other: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and gentleness.”
In a time when it is so easy to “unfriend,” to walk away when divisions test us, Jesus asks us to love one another. Will we stay at the table with Jesus?
O Sacred Heart, wounded yet loving still, teach us your love. Amen.
Dr. Pat Saxon