Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper Jb 13,1.15
How many photos does a person sometimes hold in his hand and look at them, at the faces of his acquaintances or loved ones? Sometimes, among those photographs, the face of a man who once meant a lot to us would appear. Where is his end? And that was great love! Memories are usually accompanied by specific things or shared experiences. Maybe also reminders of what he or she (or I) was able to do for that love. He stopped going to the pub for a while. She stopped bothering parties; she also quit smoking … That was love! He was willing to move from Prague to the countryside, even though he grew up in the capital all his life. That was love! Because something great out of love could be done. In the coming days, we will hear something similar more often connected with what we celebrate in the church. And we priests will again say inaccurately, “He did it out of love.” He – Jesus! But why inaccurately?
Because I’m afraid, we can never quite understand what happened in Jerusalem once. Too often, we compare the love of others with our love and project our own into the love of the other. We do not take the love of Jesus out of this. We also often put our abilities into it, and we remind ourselves of images from our own lives, from our own love. We will also attribute our human attributes to His love of Jesus. That is, the way we love, instead of striving to do the opposite and allowing the attributes of His love that He loved into our lives and our love. This is His command and the message of these days: “As I love, love ye also!” Is that possible? Do we know how He loved? Yes, we know!
Well, I’m already committing that inaccuracy. Because every time we use that verb in the past tense – “loved” – something of how we humans get into the love of Jesus. We can and can talk about love in the past tense. We know this from our own experience: “Love is no more. She’s gone. ”Today we have another one, and the second love has come, the third! Whenever we talk about Jesus, we will have a little problem not fall into the temptation to see ourselves in Him and project ourselves into His life. He has become close to us, and we can project His life into our own and, in our various situations, look to Him who has experienced something similar. But He has become like us; the opposite process does not necessarily always apply (on our part).
Let’s try to imagine, for example, a situation when we learn that we have the last few hours of our lives left. At the same time, we are completely healthy, at full strength, we do not want to die at all. We have no cancer, nothing to indicate that the end of our earthly life is near. And suddenly we get 100% news that I’ll be dead at the same time tomorrow. I’ll know, I’m sure. What will I do? I only have 24 hours to live. I know it’s a hypothesis. But we can help with other similar situations how we react when something hits our lives that we didn’t expect and breaks our plans. I don’t need us to answer in front of others now. All we have to do is be honest with ourselves.
How do we behave in such situations? Someone is surprised and needs to “breathe out,” so he does not communicate with anyone; he closes himself in. On the other hand, another is very emotional, even hysterical, spreading anger around himself, still talking as if he needed to testify on his own. Another cries are angry, angry, beat the table. Someone is getting drunk. Another stares at the wall. So what would I do? I have packed for a trip abroad, furnished with everything I need, ready for a month-long internship in a dream location. Suddenly the news that everything is canceled. So what will I be like in the next few hours? I would be like that even if I found out, I would die in a few hours. The last hours started to count down. We can add even more answers. Quickly to confession, to clean the computers, to destroy some things, or on the contrary to still have time to enjoy … I am more or less sure that I would probably not be able to do what Jesus did.
He knew for sure that he would die. He had the will of God. God, because he could not cease to be God when he was man, otherwise he would not be God at all. But also human because he was similar to us in everything. But perhaps all the more, he may have suffered and experienced in himself immense pain, strong inner psychological pressure. It could not be separated. To know everything as God and at the same time to desire, to plan, to want as a person. If we take these facts as given premises, the initial situation, then every psychologist knows that it must have been awful for him. What his human will had to go through at that moment was insane, when you know not only the time, but in detail everything that hurts you and will hurt as a person. In all respects! When you not only see everything that happens in front of you like on a plasma screen but you are already experiencing it!
He also experienced his suffering and death. But even what was to come after his death, in two days, in a week, in a hundred years, in two thousand years… He knows not only those who deny him his arrest when they flee to safety but also all those who for centuries will say that they are his disciples, that they love him and would be able to do so because of his anything. And yet, at the earliest opportunity, he will be replaced by a more comfortable way of life. He sees and perceives those he invited to follow him, and they preferred a different career… What was reflected in his head in the last hours, when humans had to carry this terrible consciousness? Only a few hours left, less than a day! What will he do?
What we can realize today is truly unreal. He does not regret it; he does not close himself. He thinks not of himself at that moment, but of others! He is maximally self-sufficient and does not show that he may now be entitled to have others notice him. Who could blame him if he said, “I’ll be with you for a while, pay attention to me …” He has the last few hours of human life left, and he gives himself a total change, as completely as he can. At this point, we have the opportunity to understand, at least a little, that true love does not really know time.
Jesus bows and washes his feet to the apostles. It’s a slave job; the teacher doesn’t do it! He who has a position cannot do that. What would it look like if a manager, or a priest, or a teacher, or a lawyer, started doing something similar! That bending to your knees and washing your dirty feet, that … that’s the work of those Ukrainians, Russians or gypsies …! They do work that no one wants to do. That is, work that we do not usually do either. We do have schools, education, a degree, a different position. No wonder Peter resists that the apostles cannot breathe. They feel that even though Jesus didn’t do it every day, now it’s not just a gesture and a theater, that it’s not even just about washing his feet. Before, they often washed their feet themselves and will continue to do so again. It is about something else, about the truthfulness with which Jesus does it. For the love with which he does exactly what he does. He does not cry over himself for love with which he does not pity himself but serves everything he does. It is given.
And what happens next? Jesus also thinks of those who, sometime in the year eight hundred and twenty or two thousand six or three hundred and fifty, will be weak, fall and betray, and claim that they want to live as they should, but they cannot. To those who claim that they cannot do it alone. He loves them too; they too are the object of his love. The one that is getting married. He also wants to be with them and clarify that there is nothing to be afraid of. What if they wanted? They could handle everything with him that they can accept him into their lives again and again. That they can also strengthen their souls. That he leaves them himself, his presence. Therefore, his presence in the Eucharist is only symbolic; only bread and wine are symbols in which He Himself is really present. Is it that incomprehensible? He arranges the bread’s transformation in which He will be for all who believe in His presence because he loves to the extreme because he gives away. It doesn’t work anymore; he left nothing to himself. It’s not just a Catholic folklore secret. It’s more. He promises to be with people for ages to come!
Yes, that’s the inaccuracy I’ve been talking about from the beginning. It cannot be said of him that he did something out of love. His love is not over; He is still doing it. His love lasts. Therefore, we can believe that at Mass, we not only remember Jesus’ sacrifice but that it really takes place at the moment of the Transfiguration because He did not love us. He loves us. He did not do it out of love; He does it out of love. So I don’t just have to worry about what a great love it was. It is not a yellowed photograph from youth; it is not a portrait of former student love. We can look again and again at something that has not ended, that lasts. Today, when we look at the bread, tomorrow, when we look at the cross, the day after tomorrow, when we perceive the Easter light… And every time, even every day, when I become a heart cleansed of sins in the queue and receive a transformed guest. I can experience, perceive and realize: Such is love!
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