Wednesday of Holy Week
(Isaiah 5:4-9a; Matthew 26:14-25)
In discerning the best candidate for president, people necessarily have a profile in mind. They will look for someone who can inspire cooperation. They will want a person who will act morally. And they will insist that the candidate’s position on issues conform to their basic values. The first reading today gives, at least in part, a profile of what to look for in the savior that God has promised.
The passage is taken from the second part of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. It is one of four so-called “Servant Songs” that describes God’s servant or, as some translation have it, son. We see each of these passages during the liturgies of Holy Week. The Servant of God works for justice in a humble way (Monday’s Eucharist). His becomes a light to all the nations of the earth (yesterday’s mass). And he is spurned, even reviled by some (today’s reading). Finally, his face will be so marred that some will find it unbearable to look at although acceptance of him means salvation (Good Friday’s liturgy).
In reflecting on these passages, we easily see Jesus. He does not save us through military prowess as if what troubles us mostly were political oppression. Rather he teaches us by both word and example a way how to overcome our sinfulness. More importantly, he depletes evil of its power in the struggle on the cross. There he overcomes the arrogance of the Romans, the jealousy of the Jewish leaders, the spinelessness of the people, and our own covetousness. The fruit of his victory is reflected in the saints through the ages.