Tuesday of Holy Week is traditionally held to be the day when Christ met with hypocrisy in the temple area before being heartened by the generosity of a poor widow. What does that mean for our pilgrimage through this Holy Week?
“Sisters and brothers, Jesus’ ministry was not easy and by most standards it was a failure,” says Bishop Earl Boyea in his meditation for today, March 30.
“Still, he trusted in God. He gave his all. So did that widow. No doubt, her total gift of self encouraged Jesus to walk the rest of Holy Week. May we follow him along that path as well.”
* Here is the Bishop’s script in full: Seven Days of Holy Week: Tuesday w/ Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing:
In our liturgy today, Tuesday of Holy Week, we hear the Second Suffering Servant Song. Isaiah tells us that the prophet is a “sharp-edged sword” which reminds us so much of Jesus preaching a word which challenges us. The song continues: “Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, yet my reward is with the Lord” (Isaiah 49:4). It is easy for the Prophet of God to feel a failure when no one seems to listen. Still, there is that abiding confidence in God’s support and presence through it all.
Traditionally, this is also the day when Jesus, in the temple area, condemned the hypocrisy of the scribes and pharisees. In Matthew’s Gospel (chapter 23) there are seven woes which Jesus issued against them. Here Jesus really was exercising the word as a sharp-edged sword and it did not win him any friends. This is brought out starkly by his conclusion: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling” (Matthew 23:37).
Certainly, this is a somber day, a day when all seems a failure. It is easy to give up. Yet, Jesus had a mission from the Father and he would see it through, whether he was heeded or not. Then, we are told, that Jesus “sat down opposite the treasury” (Mark 12:41). No doubt, he was exhausted by the exercise of his ministry. He saw a poor widow offer up two small coins. Heartened by this simple goodness, Jesus noted: “this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood” (Luke 21:3-4). Here was a woman after his own heart.
Sisters and brothers, Jesus’ ministry was not easy and by most standards it was a failure. Still, he trusted in God. He gave his all. So did that widow. No doubt, her total gift of self encouraged Jesus to walk the rest of Holy Week. May we follow him along that path as well.