Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Lord's Supper 2009

As a Catholic Holy Week and the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil) are the central holidays of our tradition. I for one love the drama of the Triduum.

I have written about this before but the most moving Holy Thursday I ever experienced was when I lived in Bolivia in 1995.
I worked in a men's prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The worker priest who I worked with Fr Benoit was doing the Holy Thursday Mass in the open courtyard of the jail. He decided that the congregants should wash the feet of the other inmates, especially focusing on those inmates that they most disliked.

I often think about Fr Benoit and that evening. Under a pouring rain thousands of desperate men washing the feet of others. Somehow it was the closest I have seen to the spirit of Jesus.
I have been to St Peter's in Rome and I have met saints and Popes but the simple act of washing feet in a prison in Cochabamba that was the true Metanoia moment.

During these tough times when many of us are watching our world melt it is important I think to remember what truly matters. I often think about sacrifice about St Francis, leaving his clothes in the Plaza and retreating to the mountains to rebuild God's temple. What quote did Francis use "look at the ravens neither do they sew or reap but the Lord God provides for them..."

So sacrifice puts our suffering in perspective. The three days of the Triduum show us that sacrifice and betrayal are part of our lives. This is not the plasticine life that we see on television but the life of service and sacrifice that was demonstrated by Fr Benoit to me in Bolivia years ago and by Francis 800 years ago.

Yet Easter is still to come and we need to remember that there is rebirth.

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