Ps 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.
When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I am not speaking of all of you.
I know those whom I have chosen.
But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send
receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
Good News Reflection:
Who is frustrating you? Betraying you? Persecuting you? Robbing you of peace? Do you know how to be like Jesus to overcome this? Jesus said in today’s Gospel reading (when he was about to get hurt more than you and I will ever experience) that we can never be greater than he is. Yet, we think we’ve got a better idea of how to handle the troublemakers in our lives.
How did he deal with those who caused problems for him? Not by zapping them out of the picture with a bolt of lightning like we sometimes wish he would do! He loved them and forgave them, even when they didn’t ask for it. You saw that in his responses to Judas on Good Friday. Being merciful didn’t add to his pain; it gave him endurance and then it resurrected him!
Because Jesus lives in us, we can have the same victory when dealing with those who sin against us.
Victory doesn’t come from getting rid of troublemakers and the problems they cause; it comes from embracing them the way Jesus did. He knew the hidden victory that comes from the cross.
Loving our enemies gives us a hidden power that crushes the devil. Forgiving those who hurt us — including those who show no remorse — sets us free from the nails that bind us to the crosses they gave us. If our happiness depends on waiting for troublemakers to change, we are permanently nailed to the cross of their unrepentance. If our willingness to love them depends on their willingness to love us, we are permanently nailed to the cross of their sins.
People sin against us because of the wounds in their hearts and the darkness in their souls. The forgiveness that frees us is also the forgiveness that can heal them if we find ways to serve them with the love of Jesus, persistently imitating him in his mercy. He has sent us into their lives to reveal his love to them.
Choosing to forgive and to do good to our enemies is a huge blow to the devil, but there is more victory hidden in the cross than this. By imitating Jesus, we are healed by our union with him. We are resurrected to a higher level of spiritual perfection. Often this process must include help from a good therapist or spiritual director, and this too is a blessing straight from God.
Discover the hidden victory in the crosses you’re facing today. Rather than being controlled by the hurt that’s been inflicted upon you, and instead of being held on the cross by your anger, worry, fear, frustration, cynicism, or any other bad mood instigated by others, conquer that evil master by choosing to make Jesus your true Master. Follow him: Imitate him. And enjoy your resurrection!
Beloved Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to understand that when I intercede for those who hurt me or persecute me, Your Saving Power overcomes in me all darkness, heals my wounds, comforts me, and seeks to rescue those who have harmed me. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica