Tuesday of Holy Week
(Isaiah 49:1-6; John 13:21-33.36-38)
During Holy Week each year we recall the four sections of the second part of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah known as the “Servant Songs.” We heard a small section of the third “Servant Song” on Sunday, the first song yesterday, and the second song today. Tomorrow we will listen to the whole third song and on Friday, the last “Servant Song.” The “Servant Songs” prefigure Jesus, God’s beloved son, who humbly lays down his life for others.
Today’s second song tells of how Jesus is named in his mother’s womb. We remember the words of Gabriel to Mary at the Annunciation that Jesus was to be called “Son of the Most High.” The prophet’s words that the servant is to be a “sharp-edged sword” remind us of Jesus’ preaching which divides the people into those who would accept him as God’s definitive revelation and those who find his words too much to bear. Finally, we believe that the prophecy of the servant’s authority not being confined to Israel but becoming a light to all nations is fulfilled as the apostles spread the name of Jesus throughout the world.
The Servant Songs reveal God’s plan of salvation. God has not chosen to bring the world together by force of arms or through a universal philosophy. Rather, He spreads His fatherly love to all humanity through the preaching of Jesus Christ. We accept God’s plan by letting go of desire to dominate others and by foregoing the count of how many countries are Catholic or what percentage of a population goes to church on Sundays. No, it is giving of ourselves daily in loving obedience to the Lord that we become part of God’s plan.