Throughout the Lenten season we review the immediacy, the amazingly brief, the emotional, and intentional ministry of Christ. During this time we are called to be introspective, to look at ourselves and our lives to seek ways in which we might be closer to God. If we are “listening,” we might hear, over and over again, God calling us through Christ to “pay attention, slow down, look to help others, and not just those who look like us or are in our family, our neighborhood or club.” How many different parables does He use to try to get it through our thick skulls? This is not offered to incur a massive guilt trip; it is what it is.
We are humans and we will fall short every day. But we can’t be trite about our human limitations, nor can we about considering God’s love for us which “passeth all understanding.”
Yesterday’s Gospel outlined the Last Supper, where Christ broke bread and shared the cup with his disciples….and where he washed their filthy, sweaty, gnarly feet. He completed this gathering with a mandatum, His commandment, to “…love one another (Jn 13:34);” yet immediately thereafter, the disciples appeared to forget this, as they denied knowing Him, especially when needed most. A literal rendering of this is a tough pill to swallow.
But an even bigger gift is shared through his death and resurrection. While His grace is “freely” given, we have to be careful to remember our Baptismal covenant in this process, that we are called to seek in “all persons” Christ.
To love one another and to seek Christ in all persons is a high calling. But rather than fret over whether or not we can do this 24/7, why not consider the low-hanging fruit? As the Eastertide swells, might we consider ways in which to swim in His commandment water around us not only this upcoming week, but for the remainder of the year, through the summer and into the next? What does this look like?
For starters, we might exercise even MORE patience with our families, spouses and friends, hug our kiddos every day and tell them we love them…through voice, actions, and support. And parents: it’s OK NOT to have your cell phone glued to your ear as you drive in school zones. Slow down.
Students: hug your parents every day, tell them you love them, help them around the house (when not asked :)), and seek out fellow students to assist. And students: it’s OK NOT to be constantly glued to your cell phones or social media; it’s more than OK to wrestle with silence. And to soon-to-be-graduates: it is more than OK to say, “thank you, thank you, thank you,” to your parents, grandparents, teachers, siblings and friends for their guidance, their patience, their teaching and their love.
Teachers, exercise even MORE patience with your colleagues, with our students, and their families. And teachers: it’s OK to be encouraging and extra-supportive as exams and commencement loom!
For all of us, try to think of others before self. Think of the seemingly simple act of opening a door, and consider what might that mean? It is one thing to hold a door as a polite gesture to allow someone to pass, and it is another to consider providing access and opportunities where none existed before.
Christ’s simple parables were anything but simple. But if we begin simply, and wade into the substance of Easter, then when the waters of “life” and tension rise (these too shall pass), we might grow to a better comprehension of the depth of His love for us. Happy Easter.