I always get a chill in my spine and a lump in my throat from the four words that stand out to me in today’s Gospel reading: “And it was night.” Those narrative words come just after Judas takes the morsel and leaves the gathering. But John, the Beloved Disciple 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.
That John tells us it was night meant that this was the hour of darkness, the hour when evil would come to an 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. This was “the hour” that Jesus had often spoken of in the gospel, “the hour” that often had not yet come, but here it is. The darkness of our sinfulness has made it a very dark night indeed.
But we know the end of the story. 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.
In these holy days, we see the darkness that our Savior had to endure for our salvation. May we find courage in the way he triumphed over this fearful night. May we, in these holy days, console the sorrowful heart of our Lord who endured so much for us.