It is truly amazing -- to me -- how quickly this Lent has been coursing. Here in Wisconsin I think it would be fair to say that we have had a very wintry and snowy Lent! In fact, the remnants of the large snow banks are still melting, even as the Canada geese, the herons and the red-wing blackbirds and robins have been returning. Sure signs of spring in the decline of winter's fierce hold.
We can see how the earth is changing, right before our eyes. Warm breezes occasionally blow, the bright sunshine contrasts with the periodic sting of Arctic chills. The marsh in back of our friary is coming alive (perhaps a bit too noisy for the friars whose rooms face it!).
But, how have we changed? Have our penitential practices brought us closer to the Lord? Have we found ourselves becoming more loving, peaceful, kind, modest (cf. Gal. 5:22-23)? In a word, has the fruit of the Holy Spirit begun to ripen more fully in our lives? Have we been willing to let go of that grudge we have held -- and that we have even justified(!)?
The daily readings in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church this week (prior to Holy Thursday) are beacons to remind us of the Suffering Servant (so the readings from Isaiah) who is fulfilled in Jesus Christ and all that he voluntarily underwent for our salvation. Today, he allows a woman to anoint his feet! Astonishing! And, of course, he in turn will wash his disciples' feet at the Last Supper (according to the Gospel of John, chapter 13).
Greek icon of Jesus washing the Disciples' feet (cf. John 13)
There is a story about St. Francis of Assisi and his early friars. They were assiduous about reconciliation -- seeking to be reconciled as soon as a quarrel or disagreement or misunderstanding would erupt (cf. Col. 3:12-17). In one episode, two friars -- who went barefoot in those days -- had a dispute. Apparently even before St. Francis had the opportunity to reprimand them, first one and then the other, bent down to kiss the feet of the other begging forgiveness!
To live the Gospel of Jesus, really, is to have the same attitude as Jesus did (cf. Philippians 2:5-11). Is that what has been happening to us during the Lent? Is it what is happening to us this Holy Week? How about we let Jesus give us HIS attitude!