Holy Thursday Message

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Jesus washes the feet of His Disciples - by Tintoretto - from Museo del Prado, Madrid


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Be like Christ and serve others humbly

by Father John Murray, CssR

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Christ’s most powerful sermon was not on a Mount in Galilee but in the upper room in Jerusalem. Jesus preached His greatest sermon, not with words but with His hands and feet when He washed the feet of His disciples, because values are always taught best in actions.

In the upper room, the disciples argued about who was the greatest among them. None of them wanted to be least in the Kingdom, so Jesus took a towel and a bowl of water and redefined greatness. Christ’s forceful lesson about humble service was also His last lesson to His Apostles. When Jesus bent to wash their feet, He was preaching a visual homily that they could never forget.

feet_wash_brown.jpg (336066 bytes)Try to imagine what it was like for Jesus to wash the feet of the ones who would abandon Him, Peter who would deny Him and Judas who would betray Him. Anyone other than God would have used the opportunity to scold them about their weakness, but Christ had a more important lesson.

God calls us to serve the people who yell at us and demean us and belittle us. Helping people who are miserable or ungrateful is hard. Unless we are rooted in Christ, we will lose motivation and become cynical.

We serve others in a Christ-like way because of our faith in Jesus, not because of their gratitude. God’s grace makes it possible. Jesus called us to the same selfless service.

Service is not just something that we do for others but something that we do for ourselves. In service, we deny ourselves and move beyond ourselves. Christ-like service rooted in Gospel faith empties us so that we can put on Christ more completely.

Generous service without any response frees us from self-centeredness and allows us to focus on others instead of ourselves. Such humility is closely tied to servant-hood.

Thankless acts of kindness purifies us and frees us from the need to be thanked. Don’t worry about their lack of appreciation. Unappreciated service becomes a chance to purify our motives, bringing with it great freedom.

Humble service does not distinguish between menial chores and great accomplishments. We often serve in insignificant ways. We welcome every chance to help others, not because of what it does for them, but because it makes us more like Jesus.

Help the needy to free yourself from self-righteousness and self-importance. It is the easiest way to root out any pride you may have.

Appreciate the privilege and honor of serving others. When you help people who need your help, without judging whether or not they brought on their own problems, you are not only serving Christ, but you are also performing one of the most Christ-like works of charity, surely close to the Heart of Christ Himself. Learn Christ’s 'Last Lesson', that humble service is its own reward. If you want to be Christ-like, do what He did at the Last Supper and find ways to serve others humbly.


Meditations on the Triduum

by Father John Corapi