The Journey to Resurrection
(Lent, Holy Week and Easter in a Monastery) Day 7 “the mirror”
“And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” 2 Cor 3:18
Palm Sunday liturgy always carries with it two sides of the same coin. One side being the joyful entrance into Jerusalem, the expectation of a risen King, and the other being the Passion and betrayal of Jesus only a few moments latter. The “ecce homo” of the humiliated Prince of peace.
These are all images of the same Jesus who mirrors the Divine King and the Humble servant at the same time. In Holy Week we see many images of Jesus mirrored in the Gospel. Jesus who is so sure of himself and his purpose and the same Jesus who at the last minute is looking for an escape from immanent suffering and death. At times he is totally in charge of his destiny and then has suddenly lost all control.
How can we look closely at ourselves this week as we walk with Jesus his passion to resurrection? We seek mirrors what will show us our true selves and strip us of all illusion. As I was experiencing more jet lag than usual this week, I said to myself, what a “wuss”. Why are you so tired? Why can’t you get your energy back quicker? Facing our true mortal and at times tired self is an important lesson in self love and understanding. We feel, we hurt, we even bleed. Our human state brings us all into that same place where there is NO hierarchy, no superiority, no illusion that we are more than we really are.
Transformation begins to take place in us when we embrace 100 percent our human character and condition. We learn not to depend on our false image but to always fall back on our real self where we will be appreciated and loved for the same. We see this in the reading of the passion today. How is-it that those who created a self image of faithful disciples so quickly denied Jesus and ran away except for a few faithful and bold women? Peter messes up big time. The rest of the gang (disciples) scatter after the death of Jesus. Only an old aristocrat Joseph of Arimathea would stand up to Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus in order to give him a respectful burial. The wise sage knows himself and is true to his discipleship. There is no fear of reprisal or political failure. Joseph would only “do the right thing.”
In Holy Week many towns in Mexico use masks in their processions and regional dances. These masks represent often the false and even evil side of humanity. Sometimes depicting the Spanish Conquerers who beat the indigenous people into religious and political submission. The mask is somehow the opposite of a mirror. It allows us to paint a false image or at least frozen image of ourselves before others to cover up our true nature. We all have these masks. Some of us use them more than others. They offer a false protection from showing others our true selves. We hide many times behind masks of piety, of arrogance, of superiority, because we are afraid to show our true self and our true nature.
Perhaps the greatest gift of the Holy Week story is seeing Jesus without a mask, full of humanity, filled with human compassion, filled with mercy. Ecce Homo! Behold the man! It is in his passion that Jesus portrays most strongly his incarnate state. He really is one of us, and he truly is the Best of us!
Let God be our mirror this week as we journey together towards resurrection.
“ The soul seeks to have the transparence of a smooth mirror. No longer having a shape of its own, it can reflect the divine infinite in its entire depth. It will fix God in in calmness and contemplation. It will open its interior gaze, and in a perfect solitude with God , it will become aware of what Christ is for it, of what God gives us, of what we reflect of that light.” Meister Eckhart