Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday of Holy Week: Hell-bent

“After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’” – Jn. 13:27

I’ll admit, it’s pretty easy for me to point the finger at Trump in terms of a ‘Judas’ figure today. But isn’t that the basic ugly human tendency trying to perpetuate itself here — this never-ending blame game. Somehow, it doesn’t get old. I don’t deny, it’s fascinating witnessing this man’s ability to stir up a cauldron of dark emotions for both those on his side and those who disagree with everything he stands for. Thus, it pains me to realize, he’s mostly working with what’s already there.

Looking inward, I’m disheartened at times. I wonder what malicious feelings are doing lurking there in my soul?

Several weeks ago after dinner, a wise man asked me, “Do you know what runs deeper than anger?” I lowered an eyebrow, pensively. My Chicagoan friend wiped his lips and continued, “Disgust.” Leaning towards me slyly, he mimed with his hand as if holding a knife. “When you can do this,” the air knife entered me, “and not bat an eye and say, ‘You disappoint me and this is what you deserve,’ and walk away. That, my friend, is Evil.”

No doubt, this stuck with me. It seems true. Prolonged anger — or any toxic feeling — doesn’t just sit there. It stirs. It soaks in like a marinade. Our soul ‘meat’ takes on a whole new flavor. Cynicism, apathy, hopelessness, egotism, fear — especially fear — so many emotions left unchecked potentially nurture a climate of nihilistic disgust. Something like a petri dish disposed to grow hate.

We enter the gospel this Holy Tuesday, a scene drenched in darkness. Every bite shared between friends a bittersweet morsel. Brethren looking around distrustfully at one another. The air is sick with grief yet to come. “Surely, not I, Lord.”

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find myself rehearsing aloud what I need to say to someone before I see this person, particularly when a person ‘has it coming.’ In my mind, somehow I am convinced that I’m justified in every way to say “xyz.” But even if I’m right “according to the world,” what about according to Love? What would Love do?

When I reflect, how many times has Jesus, with heavy heart, looked into my eyes — eyes resolved and hell-bent to carry out my own “justice” — and said, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 

Lord, save us.  Save us from ourselves.

Martin Ngo

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