This was delivered at St Stephen’s Church in Windsor at the Wednesday Holy Week service. We tend to use a reflection rather than a sermon for this simple Eucharistic service.
As always, but especially in this format, it loses something by being read rather than hearing it spoken.
I never thought it would end like this. Three years. It’s gone so quickly, but it feels like I’ve known him forever. Did he know? He seems to know everything. And yet he seems to know so little. I can’t explain it well. You see, he’s like no one else. And yet he seems so ordinary. Everything about him is an impossible paradox. And he’s turning me into the same. I love him. I truly do. With everything that I am. And yet I do this. I sold him for thirty pieces of silver. More money than I could ever have imagined owning. But that’s not his price. Nothing could pay his worth. It’s my price. I sold my honour. I sold myself.
I thought it would end in triumph. I thought that together we would see glory. We seemed to have the same ideas. He was here to bring us, the chosen people, to freedom. We’ve suffered so much. Generation after generation. The chosen people have been the oppressed people. He was supposed to change that. He was supposed to set the oppressed free. I worked so hard. But he seemed more concerned with those who didn’t even follow him. Children! Children, apparently, are more in tune with God than those who have spent years studying and striving for holiness. The lame and blind who have never worked and rely on the charity of good people. And women! He put so much at risk for women. Talking to them in public, listening to their opinions, teaching them and encouraging them to talk to others.
I thought we would see God’s power enacted through him. I thought the powerful would be brought low. I thought the Romans would be defeated. That’s how freedom comes. By release from the oppressor. But he has even been kind to them. A centurion, for goodness’ sake! Instead of bringing things to order, the order we have been waiting for, he turns everything upside down.
Everything is upside down. This money can change my life. I’ve been saving bits that have ‘slipped out’ of the purse for a while. But now I have enough to make a real difference. And yet even that seems somehow in doubt. He was in the house of those women and the man he raised from the dead, and he seemed to have no regard for money and what money can do. I said the perfume should have been sold. “Think of the poor who could have been fed”, I said. That should have jolted him. His beloved poor. But no. Even that didn’t make any difference. It was almost like he thought the money couldn’t help them. So what could?
Despite myself, I think I understand. Love. So much is about love. Mary’s love was more important than the money. Love is more important than law. Love is more important than earthly power. It is love that heals. It is love that frees the oppressed. And so here is another paradox. It is love that will betray him. My love, which is so little compared to his. I will betray him with a kiss. How, then, will I be free?