Wednesday, 27 March 2024. Readings: Isaiah 50:4-9, Ps. 69:8-10,21-22,31,33-34, Matthew 26:14-25

“So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out; and it was night. When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified.’” (John 13:30-31)

On Monday of Holy Week, we reflected on the existence of two camps: the few on the side of Jesus and the majority who were against Jesus. On Tuesday of Holy Week, we examined the anatomy of betrayal, i.e., the various stages of progression from dissatisfaction with God to despair (or repentance). Judas and Peter were at some point dissatisfied with Jesus; they argued with Jesus or did not like what Jesus was doing. Judas felt Jesus was wasteful of resources, and Peter felt Jesus was crazy enough to have chosen the path of the Cross.

Judas and Peter eventually crossed over to the other side; they betrayed Jesus by collecting money to orchestrate His arrest (Judas) and publicly denying Him (Peter). In both cases, Jesus perfectly predicted what they would do beforehand, yet they openly denied it. They did not believe they could do such evils until after doing them. Also, they were, like many of us Christians, more concerned about having a good name before others than pleasing God. The Devil Can Use Anybody. We may be close to God and hold prestigious positions in the Church, yet if we are not careful, we can betray Jesus, act as enemies from within, and cause others to fall or become tools in the devil’s hands.

Today, Wednesday of Holy Week, we shall consider what it means not to betray Jesus. In other words, how do we stay on Jesus’ side when it seems everyone else is against Jesus? This brings us to spiritual creativity, i.e. doing something original (or sacrificial) to help Jesus. Examples of this include:

1. Making Plans for Jesus: Jesus’ disciples asked him about the plan for the coming Passover so they could prepare. This tiny yet important detail speaks volumes. We plan for everything in our lives but hardly make plans for or prepare for spiritual activities such as daily prayer, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, acts of charity, etc. You hardly do what you don’t plan for, and it isn’t easy to do well without proper preparation. Spiritual creativity begins with planning your days with Jesus. Ask Jesus what He wants you to accomplish today so He may reign through you.

2. Being Obedient to Jesus: Spiritual Creativity is obedience to that tiny voice of conscience within us. It is following God’s commandments regardless of what society thinks. It is doing God’s will without questioning or arguing. The fact that the disciples were asking shows they had not used this room before. They did not even know what to expect, but they obeyed. Obedience requires trust in God and faith; even if I don’t understand why God is asking me to do this and I don’t know what I would find, I would follow the instructions.

3. Being Generous to Jesus, allowing Him to Occupy Your Space: Matthew does not tell us about the person in whose house Jesus ate the Passover, but Mark and Luke provide more details: “He sent two of his disciples, and said to them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the householder, The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the Passover with my disciples? And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there, prepare for us.” (Mark 14:13-15 & Luke 22:10-12). This person was wealthy, but the good news is that you don’t have to be rich to allow Jesus to occupy at least one room (or one corner) in your house.

4. Working for Jesus: With social media today, Jesus might not need a large upper room for the Passover. Instead, Jesus would need your online space. Some of us have millions of followers, and our posts go viral in seconds, but Jesus is not welcome in our social media empire. We make a lot of money from posts unrelated to our faith or even by luring people into sin. We even condemn religion in the name of exposing the bad eggs, not knowing we are helping to popularise evil. How about your dress sense? Can people see you and immediately think about Jesus?

In conclusion, spiritual creativity is not a luxury; it is the essence of our faith. Either I am winning for Jesus or betraying (denying) him. I can only imagine Jesus's pain, knowing that those who shared the same plate with him would betray him. As Isaiah sings in today’s first reading, Jesus is silent; he does not turn backwards, but He gives His back to those who strike Him and His cheeks to those who pulled out the beard. He does not hide His face from shame and spitting. Nevertheless, Jesus said: “Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, deepen my sense of spiritual creativity. Help me to use my gifts, talents and resources to promote your kingdom on earth. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of Holy Week. Bible Study: Isaiah 50:4-9, Ps. 69:8-10,21-22,31,33-34, Matthew 26:14-25).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu