The signs are as plain as blood on a doorpost. The hints of betrayal are as obvious as a kiss from Judas. On Maundy Thursday, however, the more subtle indications of upheaval and reversal begin to be stretched out by the Gospel writer. The teacher puts on a servant’s towel. The leader breaks open with love. The Light of God gets his hands dirty by washing feet.

If the disciples have had illusions of greatness, the sight of a stripped-down Jesus quells such aspirations. If the power of miraculous healing has gone to their heads, the power of love at their feet teaches them a different lesson. The one they have followed across land and sea, through crowds and up mountains—this one washes their feet as the journey comes toward its end.

Why not also wash their hands and heads? For that matter, why not also wash people of illnesses? Why not wash the world of its greed? Why not build a basin with an eternal fountain so that all people might be washed? How often I have wished for the power of faith to be a solve-everything power, making all things clean in such a way that they cannot get messy again!

Instead, Jesus pours just enough water into a basin to wash one pair of feet, and then another pair of feet, and then another. He commands the disciples—he commands us—to do no more and no less than this. Wash one pair of feet at a time. Love the person in front of you, every time they are in front of you. Then love the next person in front of you. Break bread with the person to your left. Break bread with the person to your right.

“Love one another,” Jesus says. He doesn’t say, “Fix one another.” He doesn’t say, “Wash the world from head to toe.”

Jesus, your power stretches out in love, but so often we stretch ourselves out for the love of power. We want you to fix all things from the beginning, but you call us to love until the very end. Fill our basins, and we will do as you have shown us. Amen.


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Leccionario Semanal
March 29–April 4, 2021
Resumen de la Escritura

This week’s readings take us through the depths but then into the eternal light. We walk each step with Jesus, who suffers betrayal, abandonment, and death. But it is more than that. In his suffering, Jesus also enters into the brokenness of our human condition and feels our pain, such that on the Cross he even feels abandonment by God. He walks through the valley of the shadow of death because of God’s amazing, reckless love for us. This is the power of Holy Week. But that is not the end of the story. Jesus’ steps do not end at the Cross, for he walks out of the tomb! Now we can follow in his steps and participate in his new life. He is risen indeed!

Preguntas para la reflexión

Read Isaiah 42:1-9. How is God calling you to be a light? How does God empower you to follow God’s call to you?
Read Psalm 70. What is prompting you to reach out for God’s help today? In what ways do you ask for that help?
Read John 13:1-17, 31b-35. What acts of service does Jesus’ example in this reading move you to perform? Choose one act you will do today in remembrance of Jesus’ humility.
Read John 20:1-18. When have you, in the light of God’s love, let go of the way you thought your life would be in order to live a different reality that God intended for you?

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