Friday, March 18, 2016
It's almost Holy Week...that time of reflection and ponderings about the whole Easter story. It is said that one cannot have the joyousness of Easter morning without the whole Last Supper and Good Friday events that preceded it.
At the Last Supper, Jesus taught us with words and most important, by example. He told His disciples how important it is to "wash the feet of others" and did so Himself. But if one reads the Gospel narrative, He was not the first to do so. Remember the woman who used expensive oils and lotions for His feet, washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair? It was a gift and a sacrifice for her to do so, just as it was His final gift that preceded His own sacrifice, that of the torture and eventually death on the cross for Him.
That lead me to think about the sacrifices that we make daily. It is so easy to comfort a friend, to hug your child, to give to those that you know. The sacrifice comes when you must forgive someone who has done you wrong when you know that it may not be accepted or returned. Sacrifice happens when you help a stranger....when you offer comfort to one you may have never met before. It is always easy to write a check to a charity and put it in the mail. Yes, it is a sacrifice of sorts, but the "hands on" sacrifice means more, when you actually see someone who needs you and then, you perform a service for them.
In Jesus' day, feet were extremely unclean. People then wore sandals and they walked everywhere. Roads were probably covered in the excrement of the animals who traveled it before...dust and dirt was unavoidable. I am sure their feet didn't look very pretty either, with scars laced over and under toes, sometimes feet were deformed for whatever reason. Yet there was Jesus, offering His service of washing those same feet and admonishing others to do the same. In fact, He even said that! (see John 13:1-17) The final two verses refer to how we must humble ourselves to become exalted. Those who exalt themselves will surely be humbled, also another reference that is mentioned in all four Gospels! Time and again He told his followers that to gain something--Heaven--they must lose something, they must give away something, they must be like Him in every way. The one who questioned Him, saying how hard it would be to give up everything and follow Him was told that, sadly, Heaven had no room for that option.
How about you? It can be so easy to avoid others, especially others who are suffering. Have you seen those commercials about the starving children in Africa? How many of you change the channel? Yet we also have starving people right here in your own communities, they just are not as readily apparent. Hunger knows no country....more and more our own nation is becoming a nation of the "haves" vs the "have-nots". No matter how long you work, there is not enough paycheck to survive on. What is your response to that? Jesus said, "the poor you shall always have with you." That is not to say that it is inevitable....because when one thinks about it, if we shared out of our own bounty, those in need will have "enough." Out of my "enough," there is always room for another. Out of my time, I can find room to offer comfort. Out of my busyness, I can always help someone. Out of my efforts, another may be healed because of my efforts. "Enough" doesn't have to have a dollar sign....it just needs to have as much Love as you can offer to make another feel as if they belong.
Ponder on that as we enter Holy Week...may you find someone and offer them "enough" so that they may be filled.