Today we begin the Sacred Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Father James Farfaglia presents a very clear explanation of the liturgical significance of each day in the Triduum in his article The Happy Priest: Triduum, the Three Days Leading to Easter.
If you attend the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper tonight, you’ll witness an extraordinary moment when at least one priest washes the feet of 12 men representing the Apostles. When Christ washed the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper, it’s significance reverberated through the heavens and hell. A great act of humility by the Son of God demonstrates to mankind for all history the tenderness of our God, who came down from on high to kneel before us.
The Holy Father explains that if we could only embrace a little of this Spirit of Servanthood, the world might be transformed:
When the Lord of the world comes and undertakes the slave’s task of foot-washing — which is an illustration of the way he washes our feet all through our lives — we have a totally different picture. God doesn’t want to trample on us, but kneels down before us so as to exalt us. The mystery of the greatness of God is seen precisely in the fact that he can be so small . . . Only when power is changed from the inside, and we accept Jesus and his way of life, whose whole self is there in the action of foot-washing, only then can the world be healed and the people be able to live at peace with one another. Pope Benedict XVI
How extraordinary that on the night of his betrayal, the greatest betrayal in history, Christ also signaled the dawn of self-gift. We hurt one another. We are all guilty of betrayal. We have all been betrayed. Can we respond to one another with self-gift instead of retribution? Self-giving love is the only true love. As we enter these days of solemnity, may we strive to create homes that model for our children the humility of Christ and real love of self-donation. May we strive to create sanctuaries of truth where our families become symbols of healing and peace for the entire world.