Monday of Holy Week
(Isaiah 42:1-7; John 12:1-11)
Jews read the passages about the “Suffering Servant” with a question in mind: “To whom does the prophet Isaiah refer?” Is it the prophet himself, or Job or possibly the entire Jewish people who suffered terribly at various points in history? Christians, in turn, have no doubt that the passages refer to Jesus Christ whose passion and death fit quite squarely with Isaiah’s descriptions.
Jesus did not come with an army of followers and much less did he use violence to impose his teaching. He established justice on earth by exemplifying God’s love to what became myriads of followers. With his crucifixion, God established an eternal covenant which is by no means in retreat despite the fact that relatively fewer people attend church in Western societies. Jesus also opened the eyes of the blind, physically in some cases but, more critically, morally to all people who seek fulfillment from power, pleasure, or possessions. Finally and most importantly, he freed prisoners of sin who may not even be aware of the harm they do.
We will hear readings from the Suffering Servant passages throughout Holy Week. They remind us how Jesus fulfills Old Testament prophecy through his passion and death. Although everyone has difficulties, they leave us in awe at the price Jesus paid for our freedom.