Our readings today bless us with a beautiful symphony of insights calling us to deeper reflection and awareness as we enter these sacred days of the Easter Triduum. Our Gospel proclaimed begins the book of Glory as the author of John presents Jesus in charge—fully aware—and ready to enter his hour—his glory and our own salvation.
Imagine for a moment, simply being in that room, hear the droplets of water being poured into the bowl, sense the bewilderment of the disciples as they wonder. Can you feel the silence and the anticipation, the questioning eyes moving from person to person? This was no ordinary meal; there was a new dynamic building around this unusual action of Jesus.
“As I have done for you, so you should also do” invites us to service of one another. If we ponder the posture of receiving, especially in light of the exchange between Peter and Jesus; wouldn’t most of us have the same reaction? “No, no, not me, Lord. I am not worthy and cannot accept your washing my feet. You are the Master, it cannot be so…” Washing the feet of another is an intimate act—a vulnerable act—maybe we shy away from it because it might just be too intimate. Feet are messy and many of us are self-conscious wanting to keep them covered, out of sight. Is there also a part of us which we keep hidden and do not feel ready to bring to the light for Jesus to wash clean? This is the night for liberation from all our messy places! So, like the Israelites who ate their meal alert and ready to run for freedom, we too have this opportunity. Every one of us; no one is exempt!
We come first to be nourished at the table of the Lord; our call to service is an expression of that love offered to us from Jesus who brings it from our Father. One Body, One Lord, Many Parts, All One. Can we live into this reality? Can we accept Jesus invitation and allow him to clean us all over?
Yes, there is the deeper invitation from Jesus—the bridegroom of our soul. We are called to take that deeper plunge in faith; to lean into the LOVE offered to us. To turn and notice this LOVE. This LOVE is not a feel-good experience it is a love…”to the end.” Total and complete; bearing all things.
I have always had a sense of gratitude that the community in Corinth didn’t understand how to come together to celebrate Eucharist. Imagine if they had understood it all, we would never have known what Paul knew about Jesus breaking and sharing bread and wine. Even the Israelites didn’t understand what was about to happen to them. They ran for freedom and got discouraged along the way. So, when we struggle to “get it right”, rest assured we are in good company!
May the Passion of Jesus Christ be Always in Our Hearts!
Jean Bowler is a retreatant at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California, and a member of the Office of Mission Effectiveness Board of Holy Cross Province.