Benedictine Spirituality Christ Cross Foot washing Gospel Lectio Divina Lent Scripture Triduum Uncategorized

The light of Love

Image ©Turvey Abbey

All week we’ve watched tension, uncertainty and fear growing around Jesus and his disciples with the Gospels getting increasingly dark as we’ve journeyed through Holy Week. I often think of the gospel for this evenings mass of the Last Supper as a bright spot in the midst of that darkness.

As he gathers with his disciples to celebrate the Passover Jesus is fully aware that his hour has come. He knows that he is about to be betrayed and that he will soon be facing a brutal and humiliating death. In the midst of that darkness he chooses to wash the feet of his disciples in saying to them:

“If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.”

Jesus’s action takes us back to Mary anointing his feet and we can almost smell the scent permeating the air again. Both gestures treat the bodies of others with respect, honour and compassion. Later we will watch with horror. Later we will watch with horror as Jesus’ body is battered and tortured.

It doesn’t take away the darkness of fear, the or the suffering he is about to undergo, it won’t take away the brutality of crucifixion. It does show us that love cannot be overcome or destroyed whatever we face. It challenges us to discover ways that we can bring the light of that love into the dark spaces of our world today.

Where are you being called to carry the light of Christ love to those around you today?

Benedictine Spirituality Foot washing Gospel Holy Week Lectio Divina Lent Maundy Thursday Scripture Triduum Uncategorized

Extravagant Love

Image by gefrorene_wand from Pixabay

Today, listening to Paula Gooder’s reflection on the women of Holy Week I was touched Susanna’s words to the other women after Jesus and the disciples head to Gethsemane, leaving a sense of dread behind them:

“That’s the problem with extravagant love, it brings with it extravagant heartbreak.”

Her words seem sum up all everything this Holy Week journey, and indeed the whole gospel is about, the call to love with all its delights and costliness.

This love is symbolised on Maundy Thursday by Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. It’s an act of love, service and fellowship that touches my heart every year. It recalls the thousands of services we are called to perform for each other every day. Its simplicity and practicality encapsulates everything from loading the dishwasher to listening to and supporting the broken hearted.

As we carry out the action in our liturgy we hear these words from John’s Gospel:

“I give you a new commandment: that you love one another just as I have loved you.”

Jesus’ love is complete and wholehearted. It takes a clear-sighted view of his disciples, seeing all their faults and still loving them. It’s extravagant and generous. It calls us to love in the same way, both accepting and giving love wholeheartedly and extravagantly. It seems to me that those are equally challenging. As we begin to celebrate the Triduum I am aware of how much our broken hearted world world needs that transforming, extravagant love.

Where are you called to accept the extravagant, heart breaking love of Christ this Holy Week?