Pope Francis tells the inmates at Regina Coeli prison present for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper that Jesus risks himself by serving others because he loves so much.
By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Pope Francis, speaking off the cuff during his homily during the Mass of the Lord's Supper at Regina Coeli prison, contextualized the Gospel passage from John in which Jesus washes his disciples’ feet.
Jesus does what a slave does
He explains that this was a task done by slaves. After having dirtied their feet on the dusty roads, people would return home. As soon as they entered their house, a slave would provide the “service” of washing their feet. “Jesus wants to do this service to give us an example of how we must serve one another,” Pope Francis says.
Those who command must serve
The Pope then brought up the passage where two disciples “who wanted to climb the corporate ladder” asked Jesus to give them the most important places. After looking at them with love like he always did, Jesus told them they didn’t know what they were asking. He described what those in positions of power do: “command and make others serve them.” In thinking of times past, Pope Francis says that there have been many kings and cruel people who have made slaves of other people. But Jesus says it must not be this way with us. “The one who commands must serve,” the Pope reminds us. “Jesus overturns the historical cultural habits of that time, but also of our own day.” If only the kings and emperors of the past had understood Jesus’ teaching and had served instead of commanding and killing, "so many wars would never have happened," Pope Francis observes.
Jesus serves today in me
Turning to those present, Pope Francis told them that Jesus tells those discarded by society that they are important. “Jesus serves us today, here in Regina Coeli.” Jesus risks himself for each person. Jesus does not know how to wash his hands of people. He knows how to risk for his name is Jesus, not Pontius Pilate. In going after the lost sheep, Jesus risks being wounded, Pope Francis asserts.
“I am a sinner like you. But I represent Jesus today,” Pope Francis confessed. He then invited the prisoners to think of the fact, as their feet were being washed by him, that “Jesus took a risk with this man, a sinner, to come to me to tell me that he loves me. This is service. This is Jesus. Before giving us himself in his body and blood, Jesus risked himself for each one of us—risked himself in service—because he loves us so much.”
Ash Wednesday is just around the corner. Yes, you heard me. Ash Wednesday is next week, Feb 14th to be exact. Valentines Day is Ash Wednesday. I can't believe its already here.
Are you ready? What will you do for Lent?
So, here we are again. 40 days to prepare. We are called to deepen our spiritual lives. We have been given the tools, fasting, prayer and almsgiving. So what are you going to do? Lets join this gym for our spiritual life and get to work. Participating in these practices improves our spiritual well being. Lets strip away all that is unnecessary. Lets focus on God. Lets open our eyes and our hearts and become more mindful of how God is working in our lives.
Are you ready to walk into the desert?
(As I was writing this, I found this writing below on another blog. It was perfect, so I hope you enjoy it)
The desert is a dry, dusty, desolate place. Our winter landscape covered with snow in some ways resembles a desert of sorts. The monastic tradition of desert connotes caves, silence, solitude and a withdrawal from people. The desert offers a place for inner reflection and contemplation to encounter our relationship with God and self.
They are weeping for you. Their hearts are broken seeing you suffer so unjustly. And then you speak to them. In the middle of your own suffering, you reach out to console them in their sadness.
Lord help us to put ourselves aside when someone needs our words to encourage them “in this valley of tears.”
Meditation by Kathleen Aparo
Again the weight of the cross bears down on you. But you carry on, lifting your cross once more, just as you lift us when we are worn down, worn down with the weight of our trying and failing.
Lord it is only with your strength that we are able to rise from our failures again and again.
Meditation by Kathleen Aparo
How much you must have loved and appreciated Veronica in that moment. She could not help you carry the cross, she could not stop the evil being done to you but her compassion compelled her to do something. And so she wiped your face and gave You the comfort of her compassionate heart.
Lord help us to see that even one small act of compassion reaches deeply into peoples souls.
Meditations by Kathleen Aparo
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox