Reflection for Holy Week

Written on: April 15, 2019

Above: Palm Sunday, April 14, 2019. Mary Elizabeth Looby, GNSH at the Medical Mission Sisters

When I was in high school, I participated in the Forensic League at my school. I remember a speech I gave for Declamation–where I memorized another person’s speech and delivered it as if it were my own. The title was “A Long Walk in New Shoes.” The message of the speech was that we can’t fully understand another unless we have walked their walk or been in their situation.

I just came back from three weeks in Northern Ghana, at Nazareth Home for God’s Children. It is a home for what is called “spirit children,” children put out or abandoned by family or villages because of cultural superstitions in their regard, rendering them disposable. This community of love rescues them and helps them to grow!

The land is dry and weary, sandy and dusty, it is a desert! The temperature is over 100 most of the time and the breezes if there are any, are like hot breath. One wants to find coolness or comfort no matter how little there might be.

Sandals are the footwear of choice.

But sandals in dusty, sandy soil admit pebbles and dirt, making it difficult to keep your feet clean. I gained a fuller appreciation for the hospitality afforded by foot washing in Jesus’ culture! Feet can get very dirty and blisters can develop. No wonder Jesus reprimanded one of his hosts for not offering such a courtesy and praised the woman who washed his feet with her tears. Foot washing is a necessity as well as a courtesy and gesture of hospitality and provides refreshment to weary travelers in a dry land.

We are invited to walk into this week as if walking in new sandals.

Be conscious of the blisters, sore feet, pebbles caught under foot, let yourself feel the grittiness of life! But please, keep your eyes on Jesus who walked this walk for us in a dry weary land long ago.

  • Participate in the jubilant entry into Jerusalem and notice the grumbling that was around the edges
  • Watch the tenderness of Jesus as he washes the feet of his friends and calls them to do the same
  • See the lack of understanding that still exists in some of his closest friends
  • Notice the fear and anger of the civil and church authorities
  • Feel the horror, loss and sorrow of Friday
  • Feel the nothingness, the emptiness of Saturday; look for the comforters and those who did not lose hope.
  • See which person in the gospel speaks to your heart this week.

Don’t run ahead! Don’t lag behind! Stay in step with Jesus.

Walk his walk with him, feel it all! Put on your sandals and let us walk through this week together as companions, friends and let’s also welcome strangers into this communion!

Let this week unfold inside us as we seek the “more”.  Feel yourself being

  • upended,
  • toppled,
  • hobbled and
  • humbled with Jesus.

Let the beauty and the hardship of this week open us to all that God is offering. Let us go deeper and deeper still, so we may fully experience the promise of resurrection!


One thought on “Reflection for Holy Week

  1. Mary Karen Kelly says:

    You nailed it Mary!
    You hit all my markers for a great homily:
    -You prepared something worth sharing.
    -You delivered your message clearly, appropriately, personally.
    -You stopped.

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