A slight breeze stirs the trees this morning in downtown Asdee as flights from Washington and New York begin their decent overhead.
From as long as I can recall I can recall the long account of the Passion being heard on this day. The last days of Jesus’s life saw him lied to at the last supper, ignored by the sleeping disciples in the garden, betrayed by a kiss, mocked, scourged and judged in front of Pilate, stripped,nailed and dying between two thieves. Every negative human emotion anyone of us can experience is there.
I remember the excitement in 1993 when Caravaggio’s lost masterpiece ‘the taking of Christ ‘was discovered in a Jesuit House in Dublin. There are seven people in the painting including John,Jesus and Judas. The man holding the lantern was thought to be a self portrait of the artist himself. In the front is a soldier wearing very shiny armour. Why is it so shiny? So that when I look at the painting I will see my own reflection in the painting and recall any time I have betrayed – a confrontational thought!
In 1991, Brendan Kennelly published his 400 paged poem, ‘The Book of Judas.’ Here he showed how we’re all capable of being a Judas and of being the self righteous Pharisee. Both Caravaggio and Kennelly show the depth of human emotion we can travel through this week. Jesus walked,ate, was accused and died with sinners. There are times when we all feel disappointed and betrayed, finding it hard to trust anyone. People have found inner strength from mapping their own lived experience onto the saving suffering of Jesus.
Most of us can handle God but don’t want to be involved in the human mess and fallout. Maybe the Christian invitation of this week is to get involved in ‘the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.’