Holy Thursday: April 9th, 2020
From Bethany, Jesus sent two disciples ahead to prepare the Passover meal. When evening came, he met his disciples in the upper room where he washed their feet and established the Eucharist. The Lord of all hopefulness humbly knelt before the sinner and washed his feet. He took time to institute the Eucharist so as not to leave us alone after his ascension. What love he shows us in his careful preparations on Thursday! He knew what awaited him, and assumed a particular posture in light of it all. He did not hide or run. He did not snap at his disciples in his own anxiety. He did not dwell on the defense he would present when accused, or the miracles he could perform to convince the crowds in his final hour. He did not fall into the countless dispositions we ourselves would cling to if faced with the same. Rather, Jesus assumed a posture of humility, of resignation to the will of the Father, and of absolute resolve in mercy. He spent this last day of freedom preparing us for our journey home.
Upon leaving the upper room, Jesus prayed in agony to the Father, sweating blood as he reflected on the sins of the world in the Garden of Gethsemane. He brought Peter, James, and John along for company, but they kept falling asleep. Pulled from prayer and betrayed with a kiss by Judas Iscariot, he was arrested by the Sanhedrin and taken to the home of Caiaphas, the High Priest. There, the whole council gathered in the middle of the night to make their case against him. Peter denied that he even knew Jesus, not once but three times, and when finally left to await judgement, the Lord was chained in a windowless room for the remainder of the night. In one evening, everything had changed. And though the accounts read quickly and rhythmically, we can be sure that the moments were long, each one lived intentionally by our Lord. He caught the eye of every accuser, and saw their whole life before him. He listened to each word leveled against him, and could pinpoint the fear and bitterness crippling the soul. He surveyed those closing in on him, and committed to dying for love of them.
Jesus, I ask for the grace to kneel before those I disagree with and wash their feet- to stand firm when accused or condemned in your name, and respond from a place of love and mercy. Thank you for showing me, through your movements and preparations on Thursday, the care and concern you have for each one of us. I am a stubborn sinner, and you never abandon me, though I so often struggle against your embrace. Grant me the grace to keep my heart awake and vigilant as you brave these coming days. Help me to persevere, to live each moment with intentionality, and to assume a similar posture of humility, resignation, and resolve. Jesus, I trust in you.