27 March 2013

The Good Word: Rabbi or Lord? Who Do You Say He Is?

From today's Gospel:
Deeply distressed at this,they [the apostles] began to say to him one after another,“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
And then: 
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”
Today's Gospel draws for a stark contrast between the words of the apostles and Judas.  While both Judas and the rest of the apostles (John excluded, we think) abandoned the Lord in his time of trial, only one of these, Judas, we learn, permanently and irrevocably separated himself from the Lord.  The reason for this, as far as I can gather, comes from the Christological underpinnings of those involved.

The apostles call Jesus "Lord."

Judas, on the other hand, calls Jesus "Rabbi."

I think that this is the nuance upon which the entire Gospel turns, the matter that influences all others: the Apostles' ability to call upon God's Christ as "Lord" makes their future possible; Judas' inability to recognize Jesus as the Lord similarly binds him, preventing his own ability to accept the forgiveness of the Lord.

As we enter the Sacred Triduum, let us pray for the courage to call Jesus exactly who He is, that is, "The Lord," and reject the ever-present temptation to make the Passion a case of Docetist play-acting or an Arian political statement.

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