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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

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Holy Week

Isaiah 50:4-9
Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
Matthew 26:14-25

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"I have set my face like flint." —Isaiah 50:7

Jesus "reclined at table with the" apostles for the Last Supper (Mt 26:20). He knew that one of His apostles would betray Him (Mt 26:21). Jesus also knew that this would be His last meal, and His first Mass, with His disciples. He knew He would suffer greatly. So He set His face like flint (Is 50:7). Flint is an extremely hard rock. Jesus set His face and His will to be rock-solid. No pain or anguish would deter Him from fulfilling the Last Supper and His Passion.

Though Jesus had a "rock-hard" face, He didn't harden His heart (cf Ps 95:8). He opened wide His heart to the Twelve, whose members would abandon (Mk 14:50), betray (Mt 26:47), and deny (Mt 26:69ff) Him that very night. Instead of setting His heart like flint to protect and defend Himself from the pain to come, Jesus' set His heart on fire with love for the Twelve. "He said to them: 'I have greatly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer' " (Lk 22:15). Then He gave them the incomparable gift of His eucharistic body and blood (Mt 26:26-28).

Jesus came to set the earth on fire with the flame of the Holy Spirit (Lk 12:49). Only in the power of the Holy Spirit can we set ourselves to be hard enough to walk unflinchingly through great pain and yet be open (Is 50:4) and loving enough to simultaneously embrace those who hurt us. "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20:22). Set yourself to share in Jesus' cross and resurrection.

Prayer:  Father, may I "set all [my] hope on the gift to be conferred on [me] when Jesus Christ appears" (1 Pt 1:13).

Promise:  "The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them." —Is 50:4

Praise:  Praise Jesus, Whose love extends beyond the grave.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, August 18 8, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 23, 2004