23 Mar


(A biblical refection on HOLY THURSDAY, 24 March 2016)


Gospel Reading: John 13:1-15 

First Reading: Exodus 12:1-8,11-14; Psalms: Psalm 116:12-13,15-18; Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 

The Scripture Text

Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside His garments, and girded Himself with a towel. Then He poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “He who has  bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who was to betray Him; that was why He said, “You are not all clean.”

When He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and resumed His place, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. (John 13:1-15 RSV) 

How hard it can be to let someone do something for us when we think we can do it ourselves! For instance, most of us would balk at the idea of allowing any person to wash our feet, let alone the Son of God! And yet Jesus wants this simple gesture to be a sign of the love He has for us.

Maybe we find it hard to accept that Jesus would want to lower Himself so much to serve us because we find it hard to grasp just how deeply He treasures us. And maybe we should make that our goal between now and Easter. Over the next three days, the various celebrations of the Triduum give us numerous opportunities to experience and understand this love and let it draw us closer to Him.

As we (you and I) accompany Jesus on the road to Calvary these next three days, let Him minister to each and every one of us. We don’t have to worry so much about loving Him enough. Instead, let Him fill our hearts with His love. Whether in personal prayer or at the various liturgies, let us allow His gentle tenderness to wash over us as the story of Jesus’ passion unfolds. We must know that when He offered the first Eucharist, He was telling each and every one of us, “Take and eat.” We must know that when He said “Father, forgive,” He was looking right at us. We must rejoice that when He said, “I am going the My Father and Your Father,” He was actually telling us that He has given each and every one of us all the blessings and dignity of a child of God.

We (you and I) may wonder how Jesus was able to think of us as He was doing all of this. I doesn’t matter if we take just one step toward grasping the amazing truth, He will take twenty steps toward us. So let Jesus’ washing of our feet begin to release our inhibitions about letting God do for us what He does perfectly. Let the depths of His love penetrate our hearts. What appears as folly to the world is cause for joy. We must let go of our objections so that we can experience what it means to be cared for by the One who loves to the end.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, how can I comprehend the vastness of Your love? Since it is beyond what I can imagine, let me rest in You as I relish the marvel of who You are. Amen.

Jakarta, 23 March 2016 

A Christian Pilgrim 


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