Some time ago, reflecting and praying with what we might call the synthesis of Jesus’ lifestyle or what constitutes the keys from where he experiences life, the desire bubbles-up within me as an interior invitation to develop with simplicity what comes together in my soul and in my body.
How could I explain the keys to Jesus’ lifestyle?
Tradition has done it by coining a term “evangelical counsels”. It does not sound trendy at all, but this Holy Week, delving into the richness and outcome of the life of Jesus to which we are invited and called by our name to follow; we cannot help but to try it!
We dedicate this to all who are afraid of commitment, hesitant toward radicalism; live the common shared mediocrity, yet, at the same time, hold a real desire to follow Him, in the way He lived. Does anyone identify?
Holy Thursday: around the TABLE of life, and of the end of life
Good Friday: from the CROSS of Jesus and the Cross of the world
Holy Saturday: in the Garden of Silence, of the Silenced Word, of buried Love, of the Stolen Future.
Easter Sunday: LIGHT breaks. The VOICE returns. LIFE begins
For our reflections we propose a simple definition of that lens from which we will accompany Jesus, updated, prayed and lived by thousands of people throughout the world today, especially coined and lived by courageous and prepared women, in the opening of the thousand spaces where life bursts, the Sisters For Christian Community.
Poverty as service: everything I have, I am, I possess, all the time that is given to me and the talents received, is placed to the service of everyone.
Chastity as love: as a vocation to love many with the freedom of Jesus, unconditionally, personally and passionately. This quality of love invites us to be present with a close, lasting love that supports, recovers, and accompanies each person on their own journey, as companions.
Obedience as listening: “shema” active listening: to the Spirit of Jesus in the gospel, in life, in day to day reality; active listening to the people and circumstances which surround us in that Spirit of God. (Excerpt from the description of the evangelical councils of the SFCC).
Thursday: Around the Table of life, and the end of life.
A large part of human relationships, times together as a family, with friends, with communities … take place around the table. Today I ate with friends, people with whom I share the faith, and between laughs and telling stories, we said, ‘what a pleasure to eat in community!’
We even eat more, everything is richer. And it is because it is bathed in the sauce of love, sharing, listening and being heard.
This is not always the case; there may be tense meals, indicating that something is not working in the relationship, that it is wearing out or that something very disturbing dominates space and hearts.
It is not fully understood the meaning of Holy Thursday, that dinner filled with words and gestures, if you have not travelled with Jesus the previous journey. Day by day, in which we are exposed to so many situations which beg our discernment and then decide if we gauge them with the barometer of the Gospel or with our own.
She discerns it this way: we invite you here to read the text of John 12, 1-8.
(Please, take your Bible in your hands, and feel the love and the life of hundreds of thousands of years of history of salvation, everything there, in these pages, so that we feel, understand, cherish; all those named therein are life of our life; in them is also our story.)
Some exegetes say that this gesture of Mary, sister of Lazarus, as narrated in the Gospel of John, inspired Jesus to make the gesture that we celebrate today and that John tells us in chapter 13.
Mary, passionately grateful, overwhelmed by the quality of love she has felt in a gesture, encapsulates what many people wish to live and that Jesus himself, according to John, will make at his last supper:
Mary, in a single gesture lives and reproduces what the evangelical counsels tell us:
* passionate celibate love: the tenderness and affection of the woman are indescribable. There is no sign of inhibition but rather of absolute infinite respect.
* Endearing service which wastes all her perfume, all her love, all her gratitude. Splurge of free delivery without measure. A gesture reproached by those who do not love, or do not know how to love, and therefore judge and condemn. Her poverty is absolute freedom to love to the extreme.
* “Shema”: listen Oh Israel: “you will love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength” … And Mary, “listened” to the altered heartbeat of the friend, altered by the imminent betrayal that he perceives, that he intuits … and before that pain, she shows her fidelity by responding with her feminine, sensual, liberating gesture. Mary obeys by listening to Love and then doing what her heart and conscience suggest.
Jesus meets with those most intimate friends, with those who have been entrusted everything he was experiencing of his “Abba” and a lifestyle capable of transforming the human heart into a child of God, the social structures in home for all, the goods of the Planet in common, shared, respected home …
Jesus no longer has words for them: he has emptied himself completely and realizes that they are far from where he is because he has been faithful, like the prophets, to a life of “shema”.
And in a last effort he goes to a gesture which divides the story in a before and after: the Lord rendering the servant-slave service.
* see Him at your feet, He washes them with care, He says it all to you in a kiss, He lets you feel the love of God that shakes and moves: celibate love, open love, the gesture is for each one, but each one with all the passion of God’s love: personal, close, intimate, open, free.
Does Jesus need in that gesture, to feel the warmth of your presence through your skin, since so many times, like the disciples, we are with attention and heart elsewhere and the friend languishes alone, without my presence and my love?
* The waste of his love, is not shown in the text, with perfume, as in the case of Mary, but with the tremendous expression “flesh and blood” eaten, shared, delivered.
Jesus reaches the maximum poverty of understanding that he can only surrender his own body, metaphor of his BEING.
* Why so radical? Because he has “heard” again the roar of the lion, the ego, the fear hidden in power, money, attaining the first positions … “he has heard”, perceived the childish fears of those who have to continue the work that Abba now gives them. He entrusts them, and realizes that “they do not get it”. And before that his heart moves even further and says “take and eat all, this is my body, this is my blood, given to all. Do this every time you desire my presence, my Love ”
I invite you to be silent, “listening” to your heartbeat in unison with his; without haste, letting the longing for intimacy of the Lord show itself to you.