Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Thursday

There they sat in silence, their feet caked with mud. Not one of Jesus’ disciples made a move to wash the others’ feet. Foot washing was expected, but was normally done only by those at the bottom of the totem pole. How shocked they must have been when no less than Jesus did the job himself. He did this to give them, and to give us, an example of humble service.

The service to which Jesus calls us is both generous and selfless. It’s motivated, first and foremost, by a sincere concern for the well-being of others. It isn’t driven by a desire for recognition or reward; it doesn’t demand gratitude or payback from those we serve; and it’s not focused upon trying to feel good about ourselves.

That’s a high standard, to be sure, and very often we fall short. Our motives when serving are usually mixed, even on our best days. So often we want to do good, and look good, all at the same time. But Jesus understands this. Maybe that’s why he made his call to service within the context of the Last Supper- that meal at which he instituted the Holy Eucharist.

At every Eucharist you and I are joined to Jesus’ sacrifice, the most selfless act of loving service in history. Through our union with this act, Jesus works to liberate our acts of service from the desire for self-promotion and self-gratification. Understood this way, Jesus’ words, "Do this in remembrance of me," take on a new meaning. Not only do they command us to take and to receive; but they also direct us to give and to share.

(My book of daily meditations for Lent is now available from Ave Maria Press: It is available also at Amazon: )

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