Wednesday of Holy Week

Isaiah 50:4-9; Psalm 68(69):8-10,21-22,31,33-34; Matthew 26:14-25

Who or what were the disciples? A disciple is a student of a teacher. In the bible, if we see 'sat at the feet of' then we are seeing a disciple paying attention to the words that come from the teacher. Mary of Bethany is described as such - (Luke 10:38). Therefore Mary is one of Jesus' disciples. We may easily think of the disciples as men - but clearly this is not the case. The apostles were all men, but the disciples were not.

This meal, the last supper, the start of which is described in the Gospel today by Matthew, was a meal shared by Jesus and his disciples. It was a passover - and the custom was (and still is ) for families to group together so there were enough people to share an entire roast lamb at the meal. The famous paintings of the last supper show just Jesus and twelve men - in practice there is likely to have been the twelve and their friends and families present.

Amongst them is our guide to this week, Mary from Bethany. There is speculation that she might also be Mary the Magdalene  but there is no firm evidence either way. I tend to see her differently - Mary Magdalene had as we might say, a history, and had been much forgiven, whereas Mary from Bethany seems to me to be a little more 'normal'. Today's Gospel is recorded as the first hand experience of Matthew, who was there (he was Matthew Levi, the reformed Tax Collector). John, 'the beloved disciple' was also there. Mark probably - but not definitely - witnessed at least some of Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem. So what about Luke's Gospel? He certainly witnessed much of what he wrote about in Acts, but of Jesus' ministry it is thought that he interviewed those who were thee and then wrote about the events from a slight distance. Mary might well have been one of those.

What might Mary have noticed at this meal? If we were there, what might we have noticed? Witnesses to events always see things slightly differently - what is seen depends upon what one has experienced prior to and since the events themselves. It can be a productive exercise to imagine one present - perhaps as a waiter, servant or slave - at such a meal, and notice people talking with each other, sharing memories and jokes, all remembering exodus (it was a passover meal). People come and go during the meal - one is Judas - but all know something special happened that evening.

Imagine telling someone years later about that evening - the joy of remembering your teacher's finest times...

Posted in Daily Reflection.