“Holy week is a week of tenderness. All through the Gospel, from his birth right up to his death, the Lord exhibits much tenderness, especially in the way he treats the sinner.” (Catherine de Hueck Doherty, 3-29-21 edition of Magnificat).
In Isaiah, it says, “A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench”. (Isaiah 42:1-7)
Jesus recognizes that the sinner is most vulnerable, is in the worst of shape, is most to be pitied. The sinner finds himself in the biggest of messes. Certainly the sinner made his own mess, but the Lord realizes that the sinner can’t get himself out of the mess. At best the sinner is a “bruised reed” and a “smoldering wick”…both symbols of something close to being completely broken or snuffed out. Jesus, guards them and brings them healing, and deliverance, and forgiveness. He does this out of his tender love for the sinner.
Part of the paradox of this scene of tenderness is that the sinner can be clueless about what’s going on…. he may feel the least deserving of tenderness, of compassion. The sinner, when honest, realizes he deserves no mercy…he is guilty as charged. This is a big part of the magnificence of the Lord. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) We were clueless and Christ was tender. We kept making messes and Christ still came to us. We knowingly and unknowingly mocked his tenderness and kindness, and yet he did not quit reaching out to us and helping us and picking us up.
Look at how he treated Peter. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”(Luke 22:31-32)
So, we are undeserving of his kindness and tenderness, yet Jesus reaches out anyway. We need to look at his strength and not our weakness. As St. Catherine of Sienna said, “Start being brave about everything. Don’t look at your weaknesses. Realize instead that in Christ crucified, you can do everything.”
So, here we are ….. it’s Holy Week. Christ in his tenderness is with us to save us. Now is the time! Let us remember “that in Christ crucified, we can do everything”. Wow, that is very good news.