Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Wednesday of Holy Week

As children we called this day 'Spy Wednesday'. This is the day Judas spent looking for Christ, seeking an opportunity to betray him. In a few days time we will hear about Mary Magdalene, also looking for Christ, seeking the one they have taken away.

We like to think of ourselves as people 'looking for Christ', seeking to find and recognise him in the varying circumstances of our lives. Judas and Mary both searched for him. Why are we doing it, then, what is our motive? What do we want to do with him when we find him? Hopefully our motivation is closer to Mary's, it is because we have come to love him, than it is to Judas's, it is because we want to use, even abuse, him somehow.

In the course of our lives we lose Christ from time to time and that is an opportunity for us to reflect on why we seek him in the first place. Where we feel sure we will find him - creation, the Bible, the neighbour, the liturgy, the life and work of the Church, the Eucharist - at times these fill us with a sense of his presence, and at other times they leave us cold. The spiritual life is a series of losses and findings of Christ. This is how the Song of Songs has been described, that great mystical text, like a game of hide-and-seek, that children and lovers like to play, pretending to lose the one we love so as to experience the excitement of finding him again.

In our life of faith it does not always feel like a game. It is played out for real, as we lose and find him again and again. But the purpose of this is that we come to know why we are seeking him. Like the disciples in today's gospel, we are unsure as to whether we are the one who will betray him. Do I seek him because I love him or to re-assure myself about something? Do I seek him because I want simply to be with him or because I want to use him somehow, his life, his teaching, his power, for purposes that are not consistent with his life or his teaching or his power?

The losing and the seeking and the finding will continue until we learn this: it is Christ who is seeking us and all we need is to know how to receive him, to welcome him, to open the door to his knock, to be grateful and joyful in his saving love.

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