Supper in the Upper Room – Br. David Allen
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So much happened during the three holy days ahead of us: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter; so little is recorded for the days before that.
Today is Wednesday! I wonder how the disciples felt at that time. What was Jesus thinking? How do we feel as we are about to begin our journey through these holy days?
As we draw near the events of the last three days of Holy Week what things can we ponder and meditate about as we remember what Jesus told his disciples? I suggest that we reflect on on two things that took place at the Supper in the Upper Room on Thursday.
First: The Gospel tells us that Jesus told Judas to do quickly what he was going to do. Judas received the piece of bread and went out. “And it was night.” (Jn. 13:30)
Have you wondered what Jesus might have been thinking, knowing that Judas was about to betray him? Perhaps we can reflect on how Jesus feels when we betray him or let him down in our daily life.
Secondly: The disciples must have felt puzzled and bewildered when Judas left the room, especially when Jesus told the disciples “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.” (v.31)
What did Jesus mean?
I think that something of the meaning of being glorified can be found in the new commandment that Jesus gave them, right after he said that!
“Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” (v. 34b)
We can perhaps reflect on how we can find something of the meaning of being glorified in our mutual love of one another.
Meditating on these things should help us to share in the emotions of those who had been with Jesus those last three days, and prepare ourselves with them to celebrate the joys of the Resurrection on Easter.
The role Judas plays has always puzzled me. Was he misguided or avaricious? Jesus must have known what kind of man Judas was, and still let him carry on and betray Jesus (and the rest of the Apostles). One thing I can take out of the story, is never to try and outline what I think God should in any situation..
I don’t know but I went to the reading in John and it seemed to me that the one shows His humanity , that He truly was the son of man and knew what dread was and wanted it done quickly? The other His holiness, the son of God, and what had to happen. Somehow Jesus seems more real this Lent, closer than before, and yet He is holy – His willingness to suffer and be glorified through the cross is such grace and love towards me ….and all people. He really does know and understand us – this is such sweet comfort.
It is a challenging question to consider how Jesus felt. I am overwhelmed by the enormity of the accomplishments we reflect on and celebrate this week. Perhaps Christ sought to minimize His human feelings and maximize the sensation attached to possibilities that were being created for humans on earth to know and love. When I am able to focus on the possibilities I have due to the work done on the cross, any feeling of personal shame evaporates and is replaced by deep gratitude.
A friend who is a priest has told me he believes Judas’ betrayal may have been his attempt to force Jesus into calling forth the Israelites (and perhaps the Armies of Heaven?) to save Him by crushing the Romans. Jesus might have felt tempted to do that, but He decided against it, deliberately choosing to allow Himself to be arrested… For me, that adds to the layers of meaning in the statements “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him” followed by His commandment to love as He has loved. This would also cast a different light on Judas’ actions and death.
We read through 21st C. eyes. What if we try to read with 1st C. eyes. Did the betrayal of the Son of Man by Judas hit Jesus broadside? Judas took the “bread”, the 30 pieces if silver, and set Jesus up. Maybe, Jesus was as human as we are, suspecting Judas was a sleeze, but not really knowing he would go to that extent.
When bad things happen to really good people, do they become glorified for all time? If so, what happened then, surely must continue to happen until God’s kingdom comes and God’s will is done on earth. It is up to us with God’s help to so order our lives after the example of Christ that the earth will be transformed and Jesus life and death will be glorified, indeed.
We will never know precisely the meaning of Jesus’ words. His actions were reported with clear eyes, but his words will forever be open to interpretation. There are so many ways of interpreting the same actions, or hearing the same words. Sometimes, different interpretations incite violence, as they led to his death on the cross. But contrasting opinions and interpretations are what make life such an endlessly fascinating mystery.
We will never fully know, but I am sure. Jesus was pondering these things.