True authority presents itself in service and flows downward. Authentic change presents itself in justice through community and flows upward. Transformation happens when they meet in they dynamism of the Spirit. This is only accomplished through life in Christ.
I have washed feet and I have had my feet washed. No surprise that the getting washed was more challenging than the washing. Well, except for maybe when I had my feet washed by someone with whom I had a difficult relationship.
As a former corporate executive and leader, I can tell you that you can’t make anyone do anything. As an ordinary human, I can tell you that cannot make someone love you. Of course you can force people to do things, you can chase someone to no end, but no real authority, change, or love will come from that. The only change will be the disintegration that comes from anything to discomfort all the way to hate. This is not the integrity that emerges from the love known as agape.
Whatever you do this Holy Thursday, whether you get your feet washed or you wash those of another, don’t think of any church service as a nice re-enactment. That is why the Eucharist is different, we are not re-enacting anything, we are not “getting” anything, we are not forced to something.
Eucharist is about what we give in love, put at the service of world in Christ. Eucharist is about how we are all transformed into what we are becoming. This can only happen in community, it is not a moment that is between any one of us and Jesus alone, it is about the whole, the entire Body of Christ – which is Continue reading
Holy Thursday is so rich in meaning. There is the foot-washing, the institution of the Eucharist, the ordination of the first priests, John’s long last discourse, … The Scripture from Holy Thursday is almost endless. Maybe that’s why I did not know where to start. Then I thought of da Vinci’s Last Supper. That picture contains 13 men and no women. This seems a little strange since it was painted to decorate a refectory for a community of nuns. Then it occurred to me that the stories of Holy Thursday do not mention a woman. Scripture scholars speculate that there must have been women there. Who cooked? Who served the meal? Where was Mary? Where were the other Holy women that appear in the stories of Good Friday? What would have been the scene if Jesus had offered to wash the feet of His mother or of Mary Magdalene? While there was conversation about Jesus death, and the men reacted as if they had gone a little overboard on the wine, what were the women saying, doing and thinking? Continue reading
Oh, those special, special dishes, the fine china. You know, the kind that only comes out on special occasions, right? If you happen to own some Royal Copenhagen china, you know about the special. You see, this Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica is the world’s most expensive china, with one place setting costing almost $7000! If I had that china, I would be afraid to touch it, let alone use it!
I had the privilege of meeting Greg Boyle in LA, October 2010.
Recently I heard Gregory Boyle SJ, a Jesuit priest renown for his work with gang members in Los Angeles at Homeboy Industries; he was being interviewed by Krista Tippett for her radio program, On Being. (Here is a link to the page for that program and the podcast.) Fr. Greg was talking about some of his “homies,” as he calls them, having a meal together. Seven former gang rivals, sitting around a one kitchen, watching a turkey cook on Christmas (yes, I know – wrong holiday!), that they could share. And you can be assured that there was no Flora Danica in that household! Who knows, they might have eaten off of mismatched cheap dishes, or even paper plates. Yet, the meal they shared was very sacred.
This absurd pairing of opposites such as $7000 Continue reading
Another amazing and moving night at our parish.
Each year, this service gets more beautiful. We had so many people and the combined choirs… fantastic. The power of community, the rich gifts of faith make this a great and beautiful place to find God and one another.
Lenten Reflections- Holy Thursday, April 1, 2010
Hosanna Prayer Group/John Koubek
The gospel today for Holy Thursday includes the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. Holy Thursday is a very special holy day – not only because Jesus gave us the Eucharist at the last supper, but a day that Jesus is showing the disciples and us the ultimate humility and unconditional love he has for us.
Jesus knew his disciples would abandon him, Peter would deny him, and Judas would betray him and yet he loved them, and us, so much that He performed such a menial task as washing their feet. By doing this, Jesus who is God, was the model servant in showing his servant attitude to his disciples. After Jesus had finished washing the disciples’ feet he instructed them to do the same for each other. Are we are willing to follow this example of Jesus? Who can we serve today? I ask myself if I could do what Jesus did as the humble servant pouring out love instead of resentment and recognize that I fall short, particularly with anyone who has hurt me or my family. Despite my failings I do know that Jesus loves and forgives me and he will not give up on me.
On the night before he died Jesus was aware of the pain, humiliation, and suffering he would go through. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus showed his humanity by asking the Father, if it is possible, that this cup be taken from him. What incredible love Jesus had for us to accept this cup of suffering and be willing to die for our sins – there is no greater love!
As a parent, when I feel the pain of my children when they are struggling, I think of God the Father’s love for us in that he was willing to have his only Son die for us. Being aware of this love helps me to “Cast all my anxieties upon the Lord because he cares for me” (1Peter 5:7). God the Father’s love as a parent speaks to me in the second verse of that beautiful song “How Great Thou Art.”
“And when I think that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.”
In the third verse, I am reminded of How Great God the Father and the Son Art and know that God will take me home when I am ready.
“When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: My God, How great Thou art.”
And how do I respond to God’s love? Jesus made it very simple for us when he told us to love God, our neighbor and ourselves and in the process try to be a more humble servant as Jesus showed us so well. I know I cannot do this by myself, but with God all things are possible.