“He laid aside His garments, when, being in the form of God, He emptied Himself; He girded Himself with a towel, took upon Him the form of a servant; He poured water into a basin, out of which He washed His disciples’ feet. He shed His blood on the earth, with which He washed away the filth of their Sins; He wiped them with the towel wherewith He was girded; with the flesh wherewith He was clothed, He established the steps of the Evangelists; He laid aside His garments, to gird Himself with the towel; that He might take upon Him the form of a servant, He emptied Himself, not laying aside indeed what He had, but assuming what He had not. Before He was crucified, He was stripped of His garments, and when dead was wound up in linen clothes: the whole bowl of His passion is our cleansing.”
-Augustine, as quoted by Thomas Aquinas in Catena Aurea on the Gospel for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Lent began over five weeks ago on Ash Wednesday. Over the course of this week, Christians around the world will re-enact and remember the days leading up to Christ’s death and resurrection. This journey towards the cross began on Palm Sunday with a commemoration of Jesus entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people who confessed and praised him as the Savior King later cry out, “…crucify him, crucify him!”
On Monday and Tuesday, Jesus returned to Jerusalem from Bethany and purified the Temple, fulfilling prophecies from the Old Testament (ex. Malachi 3:1-5). In Jerusalem, tensions continued to run high between Jesus and the religious rulers. Wednesday of Holy week is traditionally called “Spy Wednesday” because the enemies of Jesus were watching him closely and looking for an opportunity to capture him. On this day, the anointing of Jesus by Mary of Bethany is juxtaposed with the tragic betrayal of Judas.
“The Lord gives us a teachable heart so that we might encourage others (Isaiah 50:4-9a). When we are grieved and discouraged, we turn to God in trust for help (Psalm 31:9-16) knowing that he gave his only son Jesus, who came to earth (Luke 19:28-40) to die for us on the cross (Philippians 2:5-11).” -Thomas Oden, Ancient Christian Devotional
God continually promises to deliver his people and provide for them for his names’ sake (Isaiah 43:16-21). God’s past deliverance provides hope for those who are weeping in the present (Psalm 126). Our confidence is in Christ, and not in our selves, as we continue to press on in faith, participating in Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection (Philippians 3:4-14). In humility, we follow Mary’s example by laying all that we have at Jesus’ feet (John 12:1-8).
“God cares for his people (Joshua 5:9-12) and forgives our sins. We can trust him and his steadfast love – he is our refuge in times of distress (Psalm 32). Through Christ, we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:16-21) and are heirs to the kingdom of God (Luke 15:1-3, 11-32).” -Thomas Oden, Ancient Christian Devotional