Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
Today begins the Holy Triduum, or “three days”, that are the celebration of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. On Holy Thursday, we always celebrate the night that began the Passion for Jesus, remembering the Last Supper He shared with His Apostles in the upper room. This is the setting for today’s Gospel reading- right as supper ends and Jesus institutes the great sacrament of His Body and Blood, He does something striking.
Jesus rises from the table, and in an act of total self-gift and love, He washes the feet of His disciples. In our modern world the washing of feet may not carry the same significance as it did for Jesus and his disciples. To wash someones feet was one of the most humbling experiences one could have. This was the ancient Near East- there weren’t showers or plentiful opportunities to wash yourself, and most people wore sandals or no shoes at all- feet were the dirtiest part of anyone's body. But still, Jesus gets down on His hands and knees and washes the feet of those who love and serve Him, dealing with the dirtiest parts of their bodies.
This is a radical move! Could you imagine your “master and teacher” serving you in such an intimate way? The teacher who instructed you in how to live, love, deal with relationships, the one who taught you everything you knew and re-taught everything you thought you knew- this teacher serves you in such a humble way. The God of the universe- who literally just transformed bread and blood into His very Body and Blood, who is in three days going to RESURRECT FROM THE DEAD, who had healed and worked miracles for three years- this same person humbles Himself so much to desire to clean the dirtiest part of you. That is humility. That is love.
What is also important for us is to note that Jesus tells us that He is doing this as an example for us to follow. To be so humble, so full of love for our neighbors and loved ones, that we would be willing to get down into the dirtiest parts of their lives, in humble joy and love, to serve them. Jesus was our model of holiness; He shows us even in this intense, stressful, fearful, and almost final moment of His life that it is more important to serve and give of yourself than to receive.
As we begin this Holy Triduum, getting ready to enter in deeply to the great Paschal Mystery that is the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, let the example of Jesus’ humility and love move you to a deeper place of love for your friends and neighbors. Serve as Jesus served.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
How do you serve Christ through others? How do you follow the example of the love and humility Christ shows us in today's Gospel?
Do you allow Christ to serve you? Do you accept His love, service, humility, and sacrifice in an intimate and personal way?
How can you love more deeply and humbly as you journey through the Triduum and celebrate Easter?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"I love You."
"I serve You."
"Thank You for Your love."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Go out and serve someone in a personal way today. Follow Christ's example of love and humility and let your actions bring you closer to Christ. In prayer, let your heart accept all the love He has for you and bring that love to others.
Smartphone Lock Screen
The following image is here for you to save and use as a background or lock screen on your smartphone or device to help you carry today's Lectio Divina with you the rest of the day.
Today's prayer was prepared by Adam Smyth, a high school youth minister at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Ellicott City, MD.