Reflections by Philomena Grimley, SHCJ, Scripture References from Year C Liturgies.
We are all guests tonight, but mostly spectators at the enactment of the gospel. Foot washing. How do they do this in your church? Embarrassed volunteers? Each time just one (freshly washed) foot? Multiple laundered towels (for health and safety)? Yet that Last Supper night it was so real, so deliberate, so shocking. The washing of another’s feet was a menial task that could not be required even of the lowliest Jewish slave. But the hour had come. Jesus laying aside his outer garment in humble service is always laying down his life in love. All he asks of us is to receive this love that enables us every day to “Do this in memory of me”.
What’s GOOD about it? In other languages it is called: Sorrowful Friday, Silent Friday, Long Friday, Black Friday…..Hour by hour on this day we remember the passion of Jesus: the betrayals, the unjust trials, the grotesque mockery, the journey to Calvary and the utter humiliation of the crucifixion. We do this deliberately, because he is giving each one of us the uttermost proof of his love, God’s love. “No-one has greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for those whom one loves.” Will you be going forward to touch the cross today and allow yourself to be loved?
What’s on your “to do” list today? Last minute shopping for Easter perhaps? Packing to go away over the holiday weekend? Could you make room for a little Sabbath time, a little silence to ponder the mystery of that first waiting? “The women returned and prepared spices…Then they rested on the Sabbath.” Were they wondering what God would do after the agonies of Calvary, the desolation of the hurried burial? What is buried in your heart that cries out for resurrection?
The chocolate eggs and the Easter bunnies have been in the shops since January and climate change brought the daffodils out months in advance. But where were you last night? Did you stand in the darkness and witness the new fire? Did you follow and gaze on the wounded and glorious Easter candle, the Light of Christ? Did you hear again the amazing story of the triumph of God’s love over sin and death? Oh, how we need to be set free to celebrate this victory in our broken, wounded, greedy, violent and destructive world! So, “LET HIM EASTER IN US!” (Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ)