…Take it; this is my body. Mark 14:22
I love Holy Thursday! It’s my second favorite Mass of the year but this year it’s not at all the same; but then again, nothing really is right now. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper is so rich and celebrates the institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood and I will miss commemorating these things with my church family. It’s the night Jesus showed us how to love him and how to find the strength to do it well. At this Liturgy, we celebrate our unity as disciples but today I’m struggling with being disconnected.
The tears started Tuesday night after I hit the “end meeting” button on the first Zoom call with the 22 girls I shared most of a school year with. It was so good to see them smile and hear them giggle. It was a gift to connect virtually, but when it was over I was overwhelmed by an emptiness. It was so good to see them but it wasn’t enough…I couldn’t reach them …I couldn’t give them a hug or a high five. I couldn’t sit next to them to make sure their questions were all answered or check their smile to see if they were ok or just pretending. I didn’t get to hug them goodbye and tell them all the things that made them wonderful and all the things I’d miss about them. For the first time during this quarantine I felt overwhelmed by the separation.
As I was sitting with all of this in prayer, God helped me see all the ways this connects to Holy Thursday and the message Jesus shared with the Apostles that night so long ago. They didn’t realize there was an abrupt ending ahead of them. They didn’t realize why he was giving them such a mighty gift; the gift of his body and blood. They didn’t realize the desire for relationship that was being ignited in them as they sat around that table. All of the actions of Jesus in the hours that followed happened so Jesus could demonstrate the length and depth of his Fathers love for his children. We talk about wanting to have a relationship with Jesus but Holy Thursday reminds me we should want more! We should want intimacy…a closeness so tight we seem as one. Human nature achieves intimacy with the body. I can wave to a stranger, I can high five a student, I can rest my hand on the shoulder of someone who is struggling and I can embrace someone I truly love. All of those things are signs of intimacy and all of them in some way use the body. Jesus knew our need for intimacy and used his body in two incredibly profound ways to demonstrate it at the Last Supper. First, he washed the Apostles feet with tenderness and love inviting us to do the same for others. Second, he gave us HIS body and blood so we could draw him intimately into ourselves. There is nothing more intimate than taking another body into our own and that’s the gift we celebrate this night.
This distance learning/teaching thing is so much harder than I could have imagined. At first I thought it was so hard because there was so much technology and new best practice to learn but it wasn’t until this Holy Week that I realized those weren’t the things making this so difficult. It’s so hard because the relationship I have with the middle lovelies just isn’t enough, we need the connection; the intimacy to make everything complete. Watching Holy Thursday Mass Live-streamed will be beautiful and powerful but without the connection to church family there is a hollow feeling. Sacrifice, service, compassion and mercy are the hallmarks of these solemn and holy days ahead. I feel Jesus using this hurt in my heart to help me understand that growing in holiness is about not just the relationship but about intimacy. Lord, please help me draw closer to you.
A Seed To Plant: Connect with five people today. Text, call, stand on their front lawn to say hello or mail a letter…just connect.
Blessings on your day!
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