The Tragedies of Holy Week

April 20, 2011 § 5 Comments

Holy Week captures the tragedy of an entire humanity.  In more than just a few ways.  John 13:21-30 focuses on one of them.  Judas.  The one that stands out among all the villains, cowards, and innocent bystanders on Jesus’ journey to the cross.  Trying to explain all the dynamics of Judas’ betrayal in the Holy Week narrative is like trying to explain sin and evil.  We know he was greedy and dishonest.  And that seems to make him a more shadowy character than Peter, the other insider who also denied Jesus.  One can argue that Peter only had a failure of nerve, while Judas had a complete failure of integrity.  And yet, both are disloyal to Jesus, each in their own way.  Maybe what makes the case of Judas such an outstanding tragedy in relationship to all the other failures during this week is that he sees no potential for life beyond his treachery and hangs himself.  Many people lost hope during the expected Messiah’s unexpected, incomprehensible journey of crucifixion, but Judas represents the most abrupt form of abandoning all hope.  The ultimate despair.  And yet, even this type of tragedy had to be part of God’s path of salvation in and through the crucifixion of his Son.  This is a week for those without any hope who live lives of quite desperation.  Not to make sense out of it or to bring quick fix solutions to it.  But to simply bring it to the foot of the cross… to simply rest in the all-encompassing love and grace of the Easter weekend in the midst of the tragic realities of hopelessness and despair.

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