Wednesday in Holy Week
Prayer: Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Lessons: Isaiah 50:4-9a Psalm 69:7-15, 22-23 Matthew 26:1-5, 14-25
“I gave my cheek to those who pulled out my beard.” Ouch!
Most of us—all of us— have been hurt by others. Isaiah’s hyperbolic / metaphorical description is a bit graphic and, perhaps, a bit more physical than the hurts we’ve received from others, but we can feel Isaiah’s pain.
If we’re human, we have caused pain as well. We have done those things which we ought not to have done, and we have not done the things we should have. We have not loved God with our whole heart and we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. So goes our confession. Every week, at least, we rightly, necessarily, admit our shortcomings again and ask God’s forgiveness for our failings toward him and one another.
Like God, if we expect God to forgive us, we must be ready to forgive those who hurt us. It isn’t always easy (it probably isn’t always easy for God either); sometimes it may even take time for wounds to heal, but we should always seek and work and pray toward that goal.
The incredible love of God should be our example, our hope and our guide. Even as Christ was dying on the cross, he prayed for God’s forgiveness of those who put him there. Love, forgiveness, mercy and grace are the amazing gifts of God to us. If we extend them towards others—the ones we love and even the ones we don’t love as much—they can become even greater blessings to us, and to those who receive them from us.
A new commandment I give to you: that you should love one another as I love you. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples.
St. Paul’s, Leavenworth