Today it was my turn to preside at the community Mass. It was my turn on Wednesday of Holy Week last year as well, and I think this was the first time I presided the second time on a liturgical day in Italian.
In thinking about what to say--for I thought it only right to preach, it being Holy Week--I took the brief and simple approach that the brothers seem to appreciate, noting the parallel between the words of Judas in Matthew 26:15 and that of the disciples in general in verse 17. The disciple-traitor asks how much he can get from men, while the faithful disciple asks the Lord what he can do for him.
That was the best I could do in Italian, challenging myself to preach in Italian without notes for the first time. Four phrases. Perhaps I ought to be more advanced than that as I start to approach two years in Italy.
But here in my own language, I confess that there's more to it. Judas intrigues to hand Jesus over to his trial, condemnation, and Passion. The disciples ask where they can prepare for him to "eat the Passover." But what does it mean for Jesus to "eat the Passover" but to enter into the mystery he will reveal in parallel at the Last Supper and on the Cross, becoming himself the Passover Sacrifice such that, as John Chrysostom will remind us in the Office of Readings on Friday, his blood on our lips saves us from death just as the blood of the Passover sacrifice on the doorposts of the Hebrews' homes saved them from the Tenth Plague, the death of the first-born?
It all enters into the mystery of how God means to save us: the betrayal of Judas, without whose treason the Spirit is not handed over to us from the Cross, and the solicitude of the disciples, without whose devout preparation of the Passover we do not have the living memorial of the Passion that is the Eucharist.