John’s gospel for today (12:1-11) always signals for me a pause in the frenetic events of Holy Week. Yesterday there was the uproarious crowd as Jesus entered Jerusalem and beginning on Thursday the intensity of the Passion commences, not to subside until the next waiting period at the tomb. It feels this morning like watching the ocean waves in slow motion – building, crashing, subsiding and then building again to a crisis point – but in between, a space of silence and repose.
Jesus is in Bethany now, likely the most welcoming place he knows, where he is cared for with good food, soothing massage and the companionship of dear friends Lazarus, Martha and Mary. In my mind’s eye, I always imagine his mother at the table as well. How could she not be with him now?
It seems to me that we ought to spend these “in-between” days in inner quiet and attention – in whatever ways we are able, given that our “normal life” of work and family responsibilities likely continues. As a prayer to guide us, I offer J. Philip Newell’s words.
We stumble on the journey, O God. We lose heart along the way. We forget your promises and blame one another. Refresh us with the springs of your spirit in our souls and open our senses to your guiding presence that we may be part of the world’s healing this day, that we may be part of the world’s healing. (Celtic Treasure, p. 68)