Oh, this world is dear to me
But Heaven is my home -Randy Newman
Today is Maundy Thursday, the first day of the Triduum. And this year, we will celebrate it like none we have in the past. No attending Mass or worship services…no washing of feet. And, although most will gather around their televisions or other media devices, it won’t be the same.
The last few weeks have seemed like a dream. Although I am home most normal days, this has had a different feel. No unnecessary travel…no visiting family and friends…no taking communion to shut-ins…no gathering for worship. It’s like we are moving through a time-warp. We’re not really sure what waits for us on the other side. And when will we arrive? It’s like we’re living in an alternate universe…like we are aliens in a foreign land and are trying to figure out the rules.
Peter spoke of this when he challenged the Christians of Asia Minor to live out the Christian life. “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and sojourners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against the soul.”
“Sojourners” refers to those who settle down alongside non-Christians. This word comes from two words: alongside and house. It means to have one’s home alongside of. This is a person who lives in a foreign country where he has no citizenship rights. His home is somewhere else. He is an alien.
In today’s gospel reading, in John 13:1-15, we find Jesus and the disciples in the Upper Room. Most of us are familiar with these verses, as it is the act of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet that we recreate every Holy Thursday. Today, during Lecio Divina, it was something that happened before this that caught my attention. In verse 3, it reads, “Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and the he had come from God and was returning to God.”
Even though Jesus was fully aware of what was facing him, he was also aware that it was not his destination. It was a trial that he would endure, brutal and unjust, but that he would pass through it on his way to his home with the Father.
As our days are filled with uncertainty, as we struggle to cope with new restrictions and the overwhelming images of the tragedy playing out in our country and around the world, let us keep that in mind. We are sojourners; earth is not our final destination. As we bear our crosses, no matter how heavy they are, let us remember that they are temporary.
“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” John 14:1-6
Father, as we enter the Triduum, help us to keep our focus on your son and his sacrifice, given freely for us. Let us not be anxious but to turn to you and our Blessed Mother Mary for comfort. Help us to keep our minds on our final destination and so bear bravely the temporary crosses of this alien land, as Christ did for each one of us. In his name we pray…Amen.