Wednesday Holy Week

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.

Laurence Freeman OSB