Holy Thursday Reflections- by Ms. Masy Alinoro, Health and Family Program Officer at Centre Arrupe Madagascar
Today is the beginning of the Easter tridium. What comes to mind first are Jesus’ last meal with his disciples and the washing of his feet. Jesus, at the heart of this celebration, is also at the heart of the action as the Gospel of St. John tells us. Through this gospel, love and service are particularly highlighted.
It would be hard to imagine that in complex circumstances that require endurance and patience, one can always show this unconditional love and at the same time be at the service of others. Indeed, this account of the gospel reveals to us the few qualities of Jesus, namely:
A servant Jesus who is “Master” as his disciples remind him in this gospel. The foot enema action is a concrete example of what is told in St Luke 14, 11 “for whoever rises will be lowered and the one who lowers will be high.” One can imagine that Jesus is preparing for the great mission that God has entrusted to him. He will endure suffering, humiliation, abandonment, etc. But before he turned himself in he took the time to take care of his own that he loved so much as the gospel says.
Jesus, man of dialogue. The conversation he had with Simon Peter is also part of this preparation for his physical disappearance, as the gospel tells us. We can see the embarrassment of Simon Peter when Jesus approached him to wash his feet. While calling him Master, Peter wants to put Jesus back in his place, which must not be belittled as He does. But we can be reassured by Jesus’ calm and reassuring response, saying that “later, you will understand!” In these words, Peter’s embarrassment turns into joy and motivation that encourages him more to continue the dialogue.
Jesus, a person who loves. The first sentence of the gospel tells us of Jesus’ love for his people and that he loved them with infinite love. This love is not just symbolic, but it also leads to action and service as already mentioned in this text. The acts of love quoted in this brief passage are only the preambles of the coming days, where we will see a courageous and confident Jesus “that he has come out of God, and that he is going to God.”
In this time of anxiety and stress, especially related to our various daily concerns, will we be able to inhabit this courage and trust in God? Our current circumstance of the spread of covid 19 puts us in a perplexing situation; many of us remain undingealed and deadlocked in the face of the various difficulties that this entails. May the example of “Model Jesus” push us to go beyond all this: to be at the service of others, to share this infinite love, to have the courage to face the future while trusting ourselves to God our Father.