Through today’s Gospel, we already find ourselves entering into the upper room.
Our Master, our Lord Jesus, sits with us at the table, and is “deeply troubled” (Jn 13:21). Along with the apostles, we are silent, and the air is filled with an uneasy anticipation.
Jesus announces that one of us will betray Him. He says that, where He goes now, none of us can follow. He tells Simon Peter that he, the head of the twelve, will also fall away and deny Him.
And yet, He proclaims: “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him” (Jn 13:31).
What kind of glory could you mean? You seem so solemn. The world seems to be turning against you, and you say that even we, your disciples, cannot follow you where you are going. Are we too weak? Will we, too, turn away and leave you?…
These past forty days we have followed you. Perhaps we have stumbled, wandered a little, but you’ve always brought us back as we’ve made our way through the desert with you. But now, something different approaches… the forty days are coming to their climax. And their climax takes place in the darkness, the dark night of human sin, weakness, and brokenness.
Yet you speak of glory? What kind of glory? Where are you going, Lord? Why can we not follow you still?
Like little children, we wait for your response. And you look at each one of us, your eyes filled with mercy and with a sort of anxious longing.
The strong man will be overpowered. (Lk 11:22) But not in the way that you think.
The dark time approaches, the darkness of evil and suffering and sin. We have been through the desert – and you have shown us our weakness. This approaching storm will reveal us at our lowest. What can we do? How can we remain with you, do the good you desire us to do, be perfect as you call us to be, when we are so easily lured away by our weaknesses?
Now is the Son of Man glorified.
Your words are spirit and life, Lord. We trust in you. So we wait with you. For the short time left, we remain with you in this calm, safe place, as we approach the storm of your Passion. We listen to your words. And we will remain with you in this upper room until it is time to rise with you, and be on our way.