Today is Wednesday of Holy Week, which was called “Spy Wednesday” in old England because we are told in the gospel of today’s Mass that Judas began to look for an opportunity to betray Our Divine Lord to his enemies—to spy on him—in order to earn the thirty pieces of silver they had promised him. And the main theme for this day in the liturgy is the OBEDIENCE of Our Lord. The entrance antiphon of today’s Mass says: “Christ became obedient for us even to death, dying on a cross.” Notice: “obedient for us.” He is always obedient to the Father, since the three divine Persons are totally conformed one to the others in their Divine Will. But Jesus became obedient FOR US even to the terrible extreme of dying on a cross.
At the very beginning of our human race, our first parents allowed themselves to be seduced by Satan. Satan, a fallen angel, persuaded our mother Eve to disobey God. She in turn led her husband, Adam, to do the same. Thus disobedience to God is the root of all our ills. What was needed by way of redemption and salvation was obedience. So, in the garden of Eden, we find an angel (fallen, but an angel nonetheless), a disobedient woman and a disobedient man. At the beginning of the New Covenant, we find another angel—the Archangel Gabriel—an obedient woman: the Mother of Jesus, and an obedient man: Our Divine Lord.
In the opening prayer of today’s Mass we address these words to our Heavenly Father: “your son Jesus Christ accepted the cross and freed us from the power of the enemy.” I remember one time seeing a picture which impressed me. It was of the second station of the Way of the Cross, where Jesus is given the cross to carry. The look on the face of Jesus in that picture was almost one of joy, and the way he stretched out his hands and arms to accept the cross seemed to embrace, to welcome, to be eager for this moment. After all, he had been awaiting this moment all his life. This cross would be the instrument of universal salvation; this cross would become the greatest of Christian symbols and a sign of faith, hope, and love.
Let us think of this often when we make the sign of the cross or when we look upon a crucifix. Let us be grateful for the suffering of Jesus on the cross for our redemption. Let us be grateful for our own crosses by which we are conformed to the suffering Christ. And let us pray often, with great fervor: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown., O.P.
Note: Father Brown composed this message some years ago. Please pray for the souls of the faithful departed, including Father Brown.