I was not planning on posting any mediation today. But as evening approaches, I began to reflect on the hearts and minds of the Apostles. What were they going through?
Today, the Church is in mourning. We and the Apostles are at a loss for what has happened. We feel scattered, beaten and frightened. Since the beginning of its history the Church of Jesus Christ has been brutally attacked, and it will continue this way till the very end of history. With only a few words the Lord predicted a long and grueling life for any follower: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (Jn 15:18). We have experienced a sudden loss. There seems to be nothing for us to do today except shake our heads, rub our hands and pace back and forth. The Apostles remain quiet, still and hidden for they too are under attack by forces beyond their reach: men, the devil and maybe even by God (?).
The Lord has not only been rejected; he has been defeated. They have nowhere to go. They cannot go back home; that’s out of the question! They cannot go back to their former way of life. Never! They gave all they had, long ago, and followed Him. Their names are well known, written on the “Most Wanted, Most Hated” lists. They are the true Public Enemy #1. They never hid their involvement with Him. They were not like Joseph of Arimathea, “secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews”. They were not like Nicodemus, “the one who had first come to him at night” No! They had embraced and committed themselves to Jesus of Nazareth. They were not in a dream. The report that John had given them of the Messiah’s crucifixion must have been horrific. And now these Eleven men were living their worst imaginable nightmare. They were locked in their tomb, locked from the inside, dead from fear and with no help on the way.
“What are you willing to give me?” (Mt 26:15) Judas had escaped the upper room by cheating life and embracing death. He had sold his soul for the world. How often do I sell my Lord for something as cheap as sin! 30 pieces of silver was a good amount. But to give away eternal love, eternal life for 30 pieces of silver is a tragedy, if not a stupidity. Why didn’t Judas ask the Lord the same question, “What are you willing to give me”? The Lord would have told him the truth: “Everything I have, I give to you.” Instead, Judas, like all of us, looks for immediate satisfaction, or self-gratification. We don’t want to wait for later – it’s too long – or so it seems. The Lord offers us his father’s mansion – a room there, if only we can wait a little while longer. To be His, we must follow Him, love Him and imitate Him so that we can do His work and help others to do it too. The room must be prepared. How we live our life on earth will determine if this room is ever made ready.
This Holy Saturday, we find the Lord locked in his tomb, the Apostles locked in their tomb and Judas buried in the Field of Blood. Death seems to surround me wherever I go! Where do I find myself this evening? Am I in my upper room, locked in fear and trembling? Or am I with the pious women, with Mary the Mother of God and Mary of Magdala, in prayer and open defiance, ready to prepare the Body of My Lord and be surprised?