So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
~ John 13:12-15
Jesus knew he was going to suffer and die an ignominious death. He knew he will be betrayed by Judas. He knew Peter will deny him and the rest of his disciples will scurry away in fear.
I imagine Jesus as just being human, how would he have handled all of these stress and anxieties? As I went through my heart operation half a year ago, I tried to steel myself against the pain of the experience. I imagined the most excruciating pain I can remember. I said I’d offer it all up to the Lord so I will find the pain bearable. I even imagined the Lord taking the pain away.
When it finally came, it was nothing I imagined. It was totally unbearable. I tried offering it up to the Lord. It did not help. I prayed for the Lord to take away the pain but the pain would not go away. It even got more agonizing. I even felt so all alone and abandoned.
I now dare say that this is what Christ is trying to teach us this Holy Week. Pain and suffering are part and parcel of the human lot. But they are not the end nor even the reason for the story of our lives. They are portals or signposts towards the denouement of our life-story. There is still the Resurrection and Pentecost that will come after.
Judas stopped at the pain and the disappointment. And his was a tragic end. Peter kept of believing. He might have tripped and stayed away for a while; but he came back and saw the eventual unfolding of the rest of the story. He saw Christ’s Resurrection and was there on the first Pentecost. And that has made all the difference.
I guess I will also stay a while and see the story through to its great ending.