Today’s Gospel reading contains four of the most chilling words in all of holy Scripture: “And it was night.” Those narrative words come just after Judas takes the morsel and leaves the gathering. But the evangelist didn’t include those words to tell us the time of day. In John’s Gospel, there is an overriding theme of light and darkness. The light and darkness, of course, refer to the evil of the world that is opposed by the light of Christ.
So John isn’t just telling us what time it is. When he says, “and it was night,” he is telling us that this was the hour of darkness, the hour when evil would come to its apparent climax. This is the time when all of the sins of the world have converged upon our Lord and he will take them to the Cross. The darkness of our sinfulness has made it a very, very dark night indeed.
But we know that this isn’t how the story is going to end. This hour of darkness will certainly see Jesus die for our sins. But the climax of evil will be nothing compared to the outpouring of grace and Divine Mercy. The darkness of evil is always overcome by the light of Christ. Always. But for now, it is night, and we can almost feel the ponderous darkness sending a shiver up our spines.
In these Holy days, we see the darkness that our Savior had to endure for our salvation. But may we also find courage in his triumph over this fearful night and burst forth with him to the brilliant glory of resurrection morning.