Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday of Holy Week

(Isaiah 42:1-7; John 12:1-11)

The philosopher Blaise Pascal, a fervent Catholic, wanted to receive the Eucharist on his death bed. Because he could no longer keep any food down, he proposed a workable substitute. He asked that some poor people be brought into his presence. Since he could not communicate with the Head, he said, then he would “communicate at least with the body.” In the gospel Jesus points to the poor as being perennially on hand to assist.

Curiously, the passage has been understood as an excuse not to address poverty. “Why bother?” some would ask if even Jesus testifies that the problem of poverty will never be resolved. Then why do we bandage a wound if we are someday going to die or, for that matter, why eat lunch? In the Gospel according to St. Matthew Jesus actually identifies himself with the miserable by saying that what is done for them is actually done for him. John’s gospel is more subtle. Here Jesus feeds the hungry masses and washes the feet of his disciples saying that his followers are to so serve one another.

During Holy Week we sense an emphatic call to holiness. This certainly means added time in prayer but also more consideration of the needy. Perhaps we can submit our Rice Bowls or make a visit to a nursing home. Such deeds will enhance our worship.