As we begin Holy Week, I would like to share this reflection, written for Holy Thursday, for the publication Give Us This Day

Pope Francis has touched the Catholic imagination by humbly washing and kissing the feet of those he serves.  “As I have done, so you must do,” Jesus instructs his apostles on the evening before he died. These words form the motif of Holy Thursday and give shape to the deep mystery of the Holy Eucharist.

Jesus Washing Peter's Feet by Ford Madox Brown

Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet by Ford Madox Brown

I think about Jesus moving from disciple to disciple as he washed their feet and wonder what his thoughts were. I can imagine him lovingly gazing on each one, seeing a person for whom he would win salvation.  C. S. Lewis is famous for saying that humility results not so much from thinking less of ourselves but from thinking of ourselves less.  Surely, Jesus was thinking of each person whom he was serving.

Our first instinct may be to see the foot washing as simply a good deed to be repeated, which of course it is. But in his book Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI broadens this initial instinct and views the washing as a deep foreshadowing of Christ’s ultimate kenosis: his emptying of his divinity on the cross for our salvation. Perhaps Jesus was imagining the shadow of that cross on which he died, as it would only be an hour or so after the supper that he prayed: “Father, if it is your will, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.”         

The “supper and cross mutually illuminate one another,” Fr. Robert Imbelli pointedly states (Rekindling the Christic Imagination). Thus my humble part this Holy Week is to stretch my imagination, to accompany Jesus to his cross in my life so that the Holy Eucharist, given as a gift this blessed evening, might flow through me.   

(Reprinted with permission. Give Us This Day: Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholic, April 2015 

[Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press]).

To subscribe, go here

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
2017-10-13T15:53:04-04:00March 30th, 2015|Archbishop's Blog|