Commentary on the Gospel of

Larry Hopp-Creighton University's Energy Technology Program

Tuesday of Holy Week

Are we truly fulfilling God’s plan for our life?  While that question should be a key focus for each of us each and every day, is it really something we should contemplate during Holy Week?  Yet today’s readings certainly seem to point us back to that fundamental issue.

In the first reading for today, we see a clear picture that God had a plan for Isaiah from the very beginning of his life.    Even during those times when Isaiah felt that he “had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent his strength” God was with him.   Even in times of uncertainty Isaiah was indeed fulfilling his calling as a servant and prophet of God.

I can certainly relate to Isaiah’s thoughts and questions.  While my goal each day is to be a faithful servant of God, more often than not I feel like I have failed in living up to God’s plan for my life. Yet Isaiah reminds us that not only does God have a plan for each of our lives, but he also provides the strength to accomplish that plan.  He even provides the avenue to recover from those times when we stray from God’s specific plan for us.

And of course, Isaiah is pointing to Jesus whose life on earth followed precisely God’s plan.  Jesus is truly “the light to the nations”, our salvation.  Jesus is the perfect example of how to follow God’s plan for every moment of our life. 

Psalm 71 further reinforces the simple truth that each of our lives has a profound purpose.  Like Isaiah, we are reminded to rely on our Lord – for everything.  Beginning in our mother’s womb and continuing throughout our youth and on into our entire adult life, we can count on  God’s amazing strength to fulfill his plan for our life.  We are reminded that it is an important part of our life’s journey to sing of God’s salvation and to proclaim his wondrous deeds.

So how does this all fit into the wonder of Holy Week?  It is enough to be awestruck by the magnitude of Jesus’ gift of salvation as played out this week.  The passion of Jesus is certainly much more than words could ever adequately describe or that we could ever fully comprehend.  The details of this week tear at the very fabric of our hearts.  How can it be that the God of the universe who lived a perfect, sinless life could suffer so much to pay for my sins? Yet this was the detailed plan for Jesus, beginning in Mary’s womb.

In John’s account for today, we see the lives of Jesus’ disciples playing out during the last supper.  Jesus knew of Judas’s upcoming betrayal as well as Simon Peter’s denial.  I cannot say I understand the Judas piece.  While I am confident that Jesus knew in advance of Judas’ betrayal and Satan’s role in that action, I do not believe that evil is a part of God’s plan for any of us.  Peter’s upcoming denial that Jesus mentioned during the last supper also does not seem to be something that was in Peter’s life plan.  Perhaps the point of Judas’ story and of Peter’s temporary failure was to help us deal with our own failures.   We each are aware of the times in our lives where we feel we have let God down and not lived up to what we know we should have done or said.  The good news of course is that we have the option of returning to God, seeking his redemption and forgiveness.  Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to follow God’s plan for our individual life, even in the most difficult times.  We must simple cling to his loving arms, his steadfast presence, and his amazing strength available for each of us.

Dear Heavenly Father,  I know you have a meaningful plan for my life, a plan for me to point others to you.  Please give me the wisdom to stay focused upon you and your will every moment of my life.  Help me to remember that you are indeed my everlasting strength.         

In the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.


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