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.”
As I sat in prayer this morning, I was drawn to Martin Luther King, Jr. I know Monday is the Holiday of Martin Luther King, Jr. so I was praying for inspiration from him. My morning mantra was love, kindness and peace. All that Martin Luther King, Jr. embodied.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~ MLK JR
I just love how Our Lord works! As I started writing and researching, I came across a blog post by Dr. Wayne Dyer. It said everything perfectly. So here I give you, Dr. Wayne Dyer:
A Simple Experiment, by: Dr. Wayne Dyer
There is no greater power in heaven or on earth than pure, unconditional love. The nature of the God force, the unseen intelligence in all things, which causes the material world and is the center of both the spiritual and physical plane, is best described as pure, unconditional love. This God force is the oversoul to which we are always connected because we are localized extensions of that force.
I suggest you embark on an experiment in which you practice only unconditional love for several days. Vow to yourself that you will only allow unconditional loving thoughts to emanate from your consciousness. Make an intense proclamation to live unconditional love. During this time, refuse to have judgmental or critical thoughts. In your quiet time, think only peace and love. In all of your relationships, think and act in only loving ways. Extend loving thoughts and energy wherever and whenever you encounter anyone or anything. Become unconditional love for this period of time.
By pouring love into your immediate environment and practicing gentleness in all of your thoughts, words, and actions, your immediate circle of friends will begin responding in a whole new way. This act becomes expansive very quickly and you can radiate this love to your whole community. You become detached and loving toward all. You are not loving the hostile acts of others, but you are loving the spirit that is blocked in those who are harmful and unloving. When you can live this way and reject all thoughts and actions that are not of an unconditionally loving nature, you will experience the essence of your spirit and discover how to overcome limitations in your life.
What can you expect as you practice a few days of being total unconditional love? If all of your meditations are devoted to love, and if you pour love into every single situation and every single person you meet, and beyond that to everyone on the planet and to the infinity of the universe, you will feel yourself becoming a different person. You will sleep more soundly. You will feel at peace virtually all of the time. Your relationships will be more deeply spiritual. You will begin recognizing the “coincidences” of your life with greater regularity. Your thought forms of unconditional love will begin to produce what you desire without your even being aware of how it is happening. Your dreams will be more intense, and the vision of your purpose will become clearer
By: Blessed Mother Teresa
Suffering has to come because if you look at the cross, he has got his head bending down—he wants to kiss you—and he has both hands open wide—he wants to embrace you. He has his heart opened wide to receive you. Then when you feel miserable inside, look at the cross and you will know what is happening. Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you. Do you understand, brothers, sisters, or whoever you may be? Suffering, pain, humiliation—this is the kiss of Jesus. At times you come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you. I once told this to a lady who was suffering very much. She answered, “Tell Jesus not to kiss me—to stop kissing me.” That suffering has to come that came in the life of Our Lady, that came in the life of Jesus—it has to come in our life also. Only never put on a long face. Suffering is gift from God. It is between you and Jesus alone inside….
When we watch our children going through hard times, struggling, hurting, fighting addictions of all kinds and suffering with any pain or illness, our faith in our prayers is tested. We have covered them in prayer for all those firsts in their lives. First day of school, spending the night away, riding a bike and then the driving and dating. And though we know prayer is the answer for everything we struggle with, waiting becomes so very hard where are children are involved. Our prayer seems dry. But what we may forget in those dry times is that God knows our faithfulness. He has seen our trust in him from the beginning. And it is that trust that will move us and our children along the path of faith.
Yes,sometimes life is difficult and painful. And although we may not feel his presence, his help is always there, ready and waiting, dry prayer or not. We just have to remember to take shelter in him daily. “He is my refuge, a Rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people trust Him all the time. Pour out your longings before Him, for He can help!”
If we trust and believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ, we will find peace for today, strength for tomorrow and hope for a brighter future for our children.
Remember as Our Blessed Mother often tells us in her Medjugorje messages, Pray...Pray...Pray.
My Utmost for His Highest
Daily devotionals by Oswald Chambers
. . . I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord --Jeremiah 1:8
God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally— “. . . your life shall be as a prize to you . . .” (Jeremiah 39:18). That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives. Our personal property and possessions are to be a matter of indifference to us, and our hold on these things should be very loose. If this is not the case, we will have panic, heartache, and distress. Having the proper outlook is evidence of the deeply rooted belief in the overshadowing of God’s personal deliverance.
The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on a mission for Jesus Christ, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?” If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter, whether it is just or unjust. In essence, Jesus says, “Continue steadily on with what I have told you to do, and I will guard your life. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance.” Even the most devout among us become atheistic in this regard— we do not believe Him. We put our common sense on the throne and then attach God’s name to it. We do lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts (see Proverbs 3:5-6).
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox