A homily for Wednesday of Holy Week
“It was night.” “Now is the son of Man glorified.”
It was night when Judas left to betray Jesus. The lure of the thirty pieces of silver calling him from table.
It was night when Peter denied Jesus, the warmth of a fire the only comfort until cock-crow.
It was night when Jesus was born, the light of the world come into darkness. But people loved darkness rather than light.
It was night when Jesus died – the sky blackened with cloud, the creation mourning the death of the Son.
It was night when the soldiers came, breaking into the house, seizing the women, killing the men. Casualties of the darkness of the brutal war in Syria.
It was night when the young woman lay in the doorway. A failed relationship, benefits that won’t be received until next week, no council housing available. A doorway, a sleeping bag and a box are shelter and warmth for now.
It was night when they kissed and checked into a hotel. Wives, husbands, children pushed into the dark recesses of the mind. Betrayal that doesn’t feel like it until the morning after.
It is night where we are. The half-truths we tell ourselves and others. The parts of life we like to hide. Complicities, betrayals, wounds to ourselves, damage to others, guilt and despair, insecurity and fear. There is night in us.
It was night for Judas. It was night for Peter. It is night in our world. There is night in us.
It was night when Jesus, the light of the world, announces “Now the Son of Man has been glorified”.
In the morning Peter sits with Jesus on the beach. Do you love me, asks Jesus, three times. Peter, hurt but forgiven, is given the space to repair his love.
In the morning Judas refuses the light, and flees for the dark of despair. He throws down the money, shouts at the priests, flings down his life in defiance.
In the morning, Jesus the light of the world, is brought to new life. Not to cancel out the cross, but to show that the cross is the place where light and hope and God were hung. The light of the world is offered still, light in the darkness, light in the daytime, light that brings judgement, light that brings hope, light that brings forgiveness.
In the morning of our world there is judgement. Those who kill and abuse and defraud are dragged into the light of justice, and must face what they have done.
In the morning of our world there is hope, hope for rebuilding, hope for shelter and care, hope for fullness of life.
In the morning of our world there is forgiveness. Always hard won, but creating possibilities for love and life.
Morning in our world comes at different times for different people. No gradual breaking of dawn from east to west, but a haphazard lottery of place and time. But morning comes.
Morning comes when there is justice for the hurt and the oppressed.
Morning comes when there is shelter for the homeless, food for the hungry.
Morning comes when the truth is spoken, however uncomfortable that is.
Morning comes when the path of faithfulness is chosen over an attractive betrayal.
Morning comes when pain and hurt are brought for forgiveness and for healing.
Peter comes to the light, embracing it and facing his denial.
Judas refuses the light, and hides from it in despair.
Jesus is the light, and remains light in the darkest moment of the cross.
We long for the morning. But in us there is night.
We bring our night to the altar, and hold and taste the bread given to the betrayer.
The light of the world is in us, even in our night. The light of the world is with us even in our betrayals.
Let us come to the light, seeking him even in our darkness.
Let us come to the light, unmasking our painful hidden truths.
Let us come to the light, offering our wounds for healing.
Let us come to the light, opening ourselves to others and to God.
Let us come to the light, where there is hope, forgiveness, life.
“It was night.” “Now is the Son of Man glorified.”
Given at Derby Cathedral. 16.4.14.