Thursday, April 09, 2009

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday (Year 1)
My audio of this reflection is podcast at:*
Good News Reflection
Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper April 9, 2009
Today's Readings:*Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14Ps 116:12-13, 15-181 Cor 11:23-26John 13:1-15
Washing away our reluctance to serve*Jesus did not come into this world to be served, although he is God and surely deserves it. He came to serve. He came to serve YOU. And through you, he wants to serve everyone you know.After inviting us to sit back and enjoy being served by our wonderful God, Jesus says in today's Gospel passage: "I have given you a model to follow — what I have done for you, you should also do." His foot-washing ceremony is a model of service. Such a Godly model is hard to imitate, very difficult. It means loving others so much that we do good deeds for them, including the people we dislike, those whose feet are dirty and disgusting. In other words, while we're upset about the folks who have not served us the way we think they should (and probably we're right), we unite ourselves to Jesus by becoming Eucharist for them.What does it mean to "be Eucharist"? Receiving the body and blood of Jesus unites us to him and to his whole Body, the Church. We walk up to Christ in the communion line as individuals, responsible for our own conversions, saying, "I am not worthy to receive you...", but after we receive the Eucharist, we return to our pews as members of the Body, "with union" (the meaning of "communion"). As part of Christ's body, we are now as much the Eucharist as that bread and wine have become. At the end of Mass, we're commissioned to go out and be Eucharist — be the real presence of Christ — in the world.Years ago, God drove home to me this point. In a prayer meeting, I surprisingly found myself washing the feet of a priest who had betrayed his parishioners (and me and my family and some friends) through his alcoholism and lust. I tell you, his feet were ugly! But much uglier was his refusal to accept the truth about his addictions and sins.What did the foot-washing accomplish? It made a clear statement about mercy. On a personal level, it gave me the opportunity to show him that I was willing to serve him if he was willing to accept it as part of a healing process. He wasn't, and eventually I had to report him to the authorities, but the foot-washing ceremony healed me of my own unwillingness to love unconditionally. Jesus washed MY feet along with my heart. And I gained a much greater understanding of the love that Jesus has for me every time he washes my ugly feet (my sins).Remember, though, that Jesus never gives up on anyone. Years later, he washed the feet of this priest with the gift of mercy in a much firmer way. God gave him a redemptive time of earthly purgatory in the form of a painful disease that started with his feet and worked its way up through the rest of his body. Confined to bed, enduring pain that medications couldn't totally eliminate, he allowed the disease to purge him of his pride and his addictions. Although his priesthood was never fully what it should have been, Jesus embraced him with passionate love.*Today's step on the Lenten journey: *To be able to do good for others when it's not pleasant, first understand why Jesus washes your feet. Spend time in prayer today visualizing your own personal foot-washing ceremony with Jesus. Imagine him kneeling in front of you gently rinsing off the dirt from your feet. Then go to Holy Thursday Mass with a question for Jesus about how you are being called to go and do likewise.

© 2009 by Terry A. ModicaFor PERMISSION to copy this reflection, go to:

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