Here we are the day after Palm Sunday, where Jesus is welcomed into the city by adoring crowds. Yet Jesus is well aware of what will happen as the week unfolds.
Today’s Gospel allows us to see a snapshot of the human Jesus, and his natural human reaction to both Mary and Judas. This dinner party is being held in Jesus’ honor by his close friends, which will rank as one of the last high points of his human existence. The human Jesus enjoys the friends, food and fellowship of the evening. I’m confident that he was very grateful to Martha and Mary for taking such good care of him.
Judas comes along and attempts to criticize and embarrass Jesus and Mary for embracing these touching moments of human compassion. Jesus’ reaction is both human and divine, both by being irritated and frustrated by the behavior of one of his supposed closest disciples, and his natural reaction to stand up for his friends. He also uses this moment to impart a snapshot of what is to come, realizing that everything will change forever in the next few days.
Thanks be to God that Jesus never tires in healing and forgiving us. Despite the challenges and mistakes we make, God is likely “exhausted” (in a good way) by loving us unconditionally, and offers us forgiveness for our sins as we turn to Him. It’s a good time for me to keep unconditional love and forgiveness in the forefront of my heart, especially when I’m wounded by those close to me.
We know that many of our clients often carry around so much guilt that they can never forgive themselves, and become paralyzed by self-doubt. Maybe this true-to-life story of Jesus’ human struggles of love, anger, frustration and ultimately forgiveness is a good one for us to relate to and share, especially when we are feeling overwhelmed and a little paralyzed ourselves. Even the human Jesus was stuck in the middle, and loves no matter what. Maybe this is a message we can offer to our families and those we serve, by sharing both help and hope for all of us in our messy lives.
Deacon Tom Roberts is the President & CEO of Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada.