The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?
It is Wednesday of Holy Week. After the joyous welcoming of Jesus into Jerusalem at the beginning of the week, the picture is changing. Things are becoming dangerous for Jesus. Judas has made his arrangement for betrayal. The Hosannas have died away. Jesus and his followers are preparing to celebrate Passover quietly. The religious authorities are worrying about the disruptive influence of Jesus and his followers, and the Romans are taking notice.
And yet the first reading for today is about steadfastness in the face of treachery and danger. Jesus could have stopped his preaching and acting. He could have left Jerusalem, gone back out into the countryside, perhaps had a long and successful life as a preacher. Yet he made a different choice, one that led eventually to his execution. Other followers besides Judas must have begun to think he’d gone mad. Some of them probably slipped away quietly during that week, before things started to get really serious.
We are sometimes faced with choices like that. Do we stick to what we know of God, or seek our own safety? Do we shout “Hosanna” at the beginning of the week, and “Crucify him!” at the end, or do we stay and keep watch at the foot of the cross?
Where would we have been in those Jerusalem crowds?
Where are we in the daily choices we make?
–Baya Clare, CSJ