A Holy Week Meditation
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.
THE LAST SUPPER - LEONARDO DA VINCI - FROM PUBLIC DOMAIN
On the eve of great suffering, facing an end to life on this earth as he had known it, Jesus took off his robe, put on a towel, directed his attention away from the trials that would soon swallow him up, and showed a small group of loved ones the full extent of his love.
In this uncertain time of global pandemic each of us have surely felt swallowed up by "it all" a few times. We are facing "deaths" of various sorts and sizes as life as we once knew it is halted or shifted. Facing these "deaths" big and small we too are hedged in with a small group of those closest to us.
In these hours we could let our attention rest always on real or imagined suffering that lies ahead. We could become consumed. Or we could take off our outer garments, enter into the posture of a servant and minister to the small group of people God has given us to love.
This simple act of love and service was the culmination of Jesus' earthly ministry, just prior to his death and resurrection. He fed crowds, preached to masses, and healed many. But on his last night before death he closed himself in with a few loved ones, served them, ate with them, enjoyed them, loved them.
I write this on Maundy Thursday, the night that we remember Christ's actions at that last supper so many years ago. More than ever we need to hear Jesus' words and follow his actions. I invite you to consider what it looks like to put on your towel and lovingly serve the small group that you are quarantined with. The "grandness" of our lives has been made small. The "muchness" has been simplified. Many of us cannot hide so easily in our jobs or distract ourselves with busyness. We are hedged in with a few loved ones whom we are called to love and serve.
"For I have set before you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you." - Jesus
Before closing let me remind you of this: In order to serve others with the love of Christ, we first have to let Christ serve us with his love. We must let him come close to the filth on our feet and wash us clean in servant hearted love. With clean hearts that have been warmed by mercy and love we can then rise and minister to the few loved ones who are around us.