Simon Peter asked him, ‘Where are you going, Lord?’ ‘You cannot go where I am going,’ Jesus replied, ‘but though you cannot follow me now you will do later’. Peter persisted, ‘Why can’t I follow now, Lord? I would give up my life for your sake.’ ‘Do you really think you would give your life for me?’ said Jesus. ‘Mark my words, before the cock crows you will have denied me three times.’ John, Chapter 13, Verses 36 to 38.
A week, they say, is a long time in politics. Today’s hero can become tomorrow’s villain; a lead in the polls can turn to a lead for the opposition upon the announcement of poor economic or unemployment figures – see I am staying away from Brexit! – or a seemingly blossoming political career can be snuffed out through press revelations of a skeleton in the cupboard.
A week, equally, proved to be a long time in the life and ministry of Jesus with apparently a similar change of fortune – seven days that we now know as Holy Week.
On the one hand, the events of that week highlight human frailty, fickleness and faithlessness. There is Judas Iscariot, betraying his friend Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane with a kiss. There is Simon Peter who, just as Jesus predicted, denies all knowledge of the man who such a short time before he said he would die for. Or, the remaining disciples who melt into the shadows when trouble comes. Then there is the crowd! The crowd who had welcomed him with such parade and noise as he rode into Jerusalem but just a few short days later, demanding his death.
But, Holy Week also speaks of incomparable faithfulness. The passionate commitment of Jesus not just to his disciples but to all who did and do follow him, however frail, fickle and faithless we are. It speaks of the one, who, in St. Paul’s words, ‘died for us while we were yet sinners’. Romans, Chapter 5, Verse 8. The one who gave everything, despite knowing the very worst in us. If Holy Week reminds us more than any other how fickle we can be, it proclaims to the world the constancy of God’s love, come what may!
God bless you.