Thursday, April 02, 2015

Do You Realize What I Have Done For You?

Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

By Beth DeCristofaro

“This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”  (Exodus 12:14)

So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?  You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.  If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.  I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (John 13:  12-15)

Father in Heaven:  change our selfishness into self-giving.  Help us to embrace the world you have given us, that we may transform the darkness of its pain into the life and joy of Easter. 

In his Palm Sunday homily Pope Francis told us that humility is God’s way, saying “God humbles himself to walk with his people, to put up with their infidelity.” He also reminds us that God’s way is the Christian way even though it is a “way which constantly amazes and disturbs us:  we will never get used to a humble God!”[i]  In Exodus we witness God again and again saving the Chosen People.  Based on their vacillating fidelity and disbelief it appears that God even gives them more than they should ever deserve.  God turns human perception upside down again and again.  God is humility, love and gift not earned reward.

Holy Thursday, the beautiful Mass of the Last Supper is another stunning example of God humbling himself in an unsettling yet iconic way.  Peter is uncomfortable.  I’ve heard parishioners say that they would not want to be chosen for foot washing because it is too embarrassing.  People complain about Pope Francis who has humbled himself to wash the feet of delinquents, women, prisoners, unbelievers. 

Is it our embarrassment, our judgmental observations, our scrupulosity, our fear of “others” or perhaps our inability to accept all-encompassing love that makes us not understand and appreciate that Jesus means what he says:  I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

In what way do you resist the gentle touch of Jesus’ hands upon your all too human feet, heart, head, deeds, choices, thoughts?  In what ways do you resist lovingly touching the smelly, unclean, troubled, unstable, disrespectful, fearful lives of those around you as God does every day?  Open yourself to the humility of Jesus.

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