Holy Monday Reflections

Light permeating darkness; a reflection on Luke 22 vv 1-23

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

22 Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, 2 and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

The Last Supper

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”

9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.

10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”

13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.[a] 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

If you want to travel from Huddersfield to Manchester and don’t want to use the M62 then you can use the A62 instead. You would travel through my hometown of Oldham and then up through the Saddleworth Villages of Uppermill and Diggle through Marsden to Huddersfield. Even better than the road is to go through the Stanedge Tunnel by canal boat. Designed by Thomas Telford and opened in 1811 it carried goods from Lancashire to Yorkshire through its 3 and a quarter mile length. Like many of these tunnels it fell into disrepair until it was opened as a tourist destination around the millennium. It is an anamnetic experience to pass through it. You travel in the present with the shadows of the past and looking forward to future times of glory at the far end as you emerge into the light at Marsden.

As we begin this journey this year through the most sacred week in the Christian calendar, that anamnesis gains even more poignancy. We have the journey through the spiritual and liturgical acts which connect us in the present with our past in the Passion of Our Lord, and also looking forward to the glorious light of the resurrection of Easter Day. But we also have our present realities of the situation we find ourselves in with the present lockdown and the seeming disconnect with our usual normality of the journey through Holy Week with whatever tradition we would normally do that in.

However, the reality on this 2020 journey in this special week is that we are not disconnected from each other. We share in the presence of the worldwide Church and God’s people here on earth. We are connected with Christians of the past, present and future in travelling through the cross and journeying to the glories of Easter Day.

As you travel through the darkness of Standedge tunnel you are from time to time plunged into shafts of light in that darkness. At regular intervals you enter into pools of light which come from the air shafts through the rock above and which breathe light and hope and oxygen into the journey. Likewise too for us as Christians in this week there are always shafts of light and hope.

Today in the first part of Luke 22 we have the darkness of the roots of the betrayal of Jesus but this is interspersed with the light of the institution of the Eucharist. As we travel this Holy Week there will be times of darkness and light too, but we are people who live in the hope of the resurrection which shines light onto the whole of creation and we will emerge into that permanent light on Easter Day as redeemed children of our heavenly father.

May God bless you all on your journey this week.


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