Is 52:13, 53:12; Ps 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25;
Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9; Jn 18:1, 19:42
The Fourth Suffering Servant Song
Is 52:13, 53:12
As I began to ponder once again the depth of this prophetic passage both
for Jerusalem/Israel and for Jesus the Messiah, the exquisite music of
Handel’s Messiah oratorio began to play in my head and heart simultaneously.
I let the words of scripture and the lyrics and grand music meld or
marry each other in my prayer. As you know, The Messiah is often performed
or played at Christmas time, during Advent. I have always loved it then. But
lately as I have been presenting more retreats during Lent, I have brought
Messiah excerpts with me and played them during or after a retreat talk.
Participants sometimes weep during the communal listening prayer.
The Isaiah passage and so many others are captured in Handel’s brilliant
composition. I invite you to try listening and praying it during this Sacred
Triduum. The music and lyrics (written in 24 hours) sweep us, the listeners,
through the last days of Jesus’ Passion, and then, the Mystery of
Transformative Resurrection, with such agony and ecstasy, that we are literally
wedded to all of the earth’s suffering, violence, rejection, and despair, just as Jesus was/is.
Then the Light dawns and Alleluias ring out because He is Alive!
We are waiting in the agony of this Good Friday to be transformed once
again by Grace, Love, Hope. Run, tell the others, as I am telling you:
Aliveness abounds. Life conquers Death. Jump up. Get on your feet and sing
the Alleluia chorus. It’s about time.
Listen to God speak to you: “Here is my servant, in whom I take
delight, my chosen one in whom I am well pleased.” Believe this
and pray it for every human being today, especially those who are
rejected, abandoned, dying.
How do I live through Passion-Death-Resurrection with
others today? How do I listen to God’s Saving Grace
right now? Where is God leading me/us to Glory-Resurrection?
(Try not to leave the Jesus event in the past.) Where is my
prophetic word or action being enfleshed?
Janet Franklin, CSJ
New Roads, LA