Someone was asking me after Mass, “Do we say happy holy week?” The answer is yes in spite of instances of betrayal and denial. In today’s Gospel we hear the deeply troubled word of Jesus: “Amen, amen…one of you will betray me.” When Judas leaves Jesus makes the surprise proclamation: “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.” In John’s Gospel Jesus is glorified when he is lifted up on the cross. Glory is the visible or felt presence of God. When Jesus is lifted up on the cross, and when Jesus is lifted up in His passion, death, and resurrection we see the one true God, a God of humility and power. So Holy Week is happy as we hear this Good News.
Jesus goes on to predict that Peter will betray Him not once, not twice but three times: “Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.” Yet Jesus is patient with our human weakness and will forgive Peter and after His death and resurrection will once again invite Peter to follow Him even unto death: “Jesus said this signifying by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.” (John 21:19). Once again Jesus is glorified and enables us to see and fell the presence of God, a God full of mercy and compassion.
As we follow the way of the cross this week we are aware of our own weaknesses and perhaps even of our times of denial and betrayal but the good or happy news this week is that Jesus shows us the glory of God, we can see and feel the goodness and love of God as we follow the way of the cross. Jesus also wants us to see the glory of God in ourselves since we are the Body of Christ. Happy Holy Week!