Thursday, April 6th
Ex 12: 1-8, 11-14
Ps 116: 12-13, 15-18
1 Cor 11: 23-26
Jn 13: 1-15
“I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” Jn 13:15
“Be careful,” Mabel’s husband cautions her, when she suggests that they—a black couple in the 1960s rural South—intervene for a young white girl who’s in trouble. Mabel’s rebuke: “Don’t say that in the Bible. ‘Do unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.’ Don’t say nothin’ about ‘Be careful.” (Where the Crawdads Sing, novel by Delia Owens/film). Mabel’s point was amplified by Rev. Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. on what proved to be the eve of his assassination: “No (person) is free (who) fears death.”
Mabel and Martin each knew that Jesus had read God’s revelation in the same way that they had. Jesus always chose love over personal safety, even throughout his Passion, to death. True, the Synoptic narratives show Jesus in Gethsemane (“in human likeness”) praying to be spared the “cup of suffering:” the prospect of calamity for his disciples and mission should all those threats of violent death come to pass. Yes, he agonized, knowing how easily they could slip over the Mt. of Olives into the Judean desert’s maze of caves. Escaping Jerusalem would be “for the sake of the mission,” so to continue God’s work elsewhere. But no. Jesus stayed the course because he discerned the truth and it set him free.
Today we watch Jesus of the Fourth Gospel. Having wept and overcome the shadow of death at Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus models the way forward for disciples of all time: humble, loving service to the dear neighbor. It is left to us to discern our “next steps” of loving with true freedom: being care-full, but not too careful.
O God, O Christ, O Spirit, give me the courage to live a truly discerning life. Help me to love as you love.
What is my courageous next step in loving?
Whose “feet” am I called to “wash?”
Sister Mary Jo Curtsinger, CSJ