So when He had washed their feet and put His garments back on and reclined at table again, He said to them, â€œDo you realize what I have done for you? You call me â€˜teacherâ€™ and â€˜master,â€™Â Â and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one anotherâ€™s feet. I have given you a model to follow
Today we enter the Pascal Triduum, the three days that changed everything, the three days that offer hope to the whole world in the present tense.
In our readings and Gospel are set forth the means for offering hope â€“ something we as kingdom citizens are called to offer â€“ the model Jesus gave us to follow.
Hope is offered in this â€“ That we share in the Eucharistic feast â€“ the great feast of thanksgiving wherein we dwell with Christ for all eternity.
Those invited and who come into the kingdom, no matter how it happens â€“ never have to want for the presence of Jesus. We and they live with Him here and now, and forever.
Each time we gather around the table of the Lord and come to the Eucharistic moment â€“ the words spoken by Jesus â€“ and since then spoken over and over by His ministerial priests â€“ who act in His very Person to do exactly what He did â€“ we are there with Jesus for all time and eternity.
We cannot help but have hope because Jesus, the Son of God, made it such that we can be in heaven with Him, not just later, after we die, but right here and now. Being that close to Jesus means He knows all we face. He knows all we need. And, He knows where we need a push, a nudge to follow more closely the gospel path. In His eternal presence we live in hope, for nothing is beyond Jesusâ€™ saving power.
Hope is offered in this â€“ That gathered as kingdom citizens we partake of Jesus and have Him dwelling in us, not just alone, but together with all who receive.
Jesus left us His body and blood, not just a symbol â€“ but rather the full reality wherein we eat His flesh and drink His blood, so that He may not only be in us, but that the kingdom life might shine out of us as a whole.
He gives us the bread of life and the cup of salvation so that as we participate in them and receive them, we become one body.
We cannot help but hope for we are not alone. We are joined fully with each other and with all who have gone before. Jesus has drawn us together, made us a family, a body, a people who are not just one with Him, but with each other.
Hope is offered in this â€“ that we can minister in washing each other of sin. We certainly fall, we fail, we err, do wrong, and withdraw into ourselves.
Sin is the great separator, the overwhelming place of aloneness, without connection, without any other presence but our own. That is what sin was always meant to be â€“ for as Satan separated himself from God â€“ into the desolation of apartness â€“ so he tempts us to do the same. Be broken, be apart, go your own way and be alone. Let now and eternity be just me, myself, and I.
Hope means that sin is not our end. Sin has been overcome by Jesus as we will see tomorrow on Good Friday. To ensure us of His continual mercy and forgiveness He gave us the example of what we are to do. We are to wash each other.
Did you ever consider the words of the Confiteor we pray every week? No matter which is used they all contain this phrase – I ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, all the saints and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord, our God. We must pray for each other, that we each overcome what is broken in us. That we receive the grace of not just forgiveness but also repentance â€“ the change that we need. We must pray over each other so that sin be washed away and so that we each realize I am not alone.
Let us spend time this evening contemplating before Jesus, reposed in this symbolic prison, a place of suffering and pain surrounded by and filled with the glory of God, how hoping in Him surrounds us and fills us with His glory in every circumstance.
In these three days let us choose to embrace the hope that is offered to us in Jesus. Let hope lift our spirits. Then let it be in us forever.