April 9, 2016 – Saturday in the 2nd Week of Easter

Saint for the day: Casilda: (11th century, died: 1050)

washes feet

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 6:1-7

Psalm 33

John 6:16-21

“O chosen people, proclaim the mighty works of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light, alleluia,” (Entrance Antiphon for today’s Liturgy based on: 1 Peter 2:9)

In these “Easter Days” we are hearing scripture readings from the Acts of the Apostles and the Holy Gospel according to St. John. Each of these selections pretty much go sequentially giving us two different accounts of how the early Church came to grips with what they were all about. The reading from the Acts gives us the way in which the early community dealt with the practical side of communal living. It reminds me of my own entrance into the Dominican community in 1959 – way before there was even any thought of a Second Vatican Council. I’ve always said, that life in those days hadn’t changed much in hundreds of years. At that time, the Latin term for lay brothers was “conversi” based on the fact that many men who came to the Dominicans as lay brothers were converting from a less than noble way of living. Much of that was probably based on this reading that we just heard from the Acts of the Apostles.

“If you wish to be great you must become the servant of all.” I think I took those words to heart as I began my life as a Dominican brother. Also, these words of Jesus are repeated often throughout the Gospels so everybody needs to take them to heart. I am reminded of the Liturgy of Holy Thursday when we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist and the Ordained Priesthood. However … the Gospel for that liturgy doesn’t cite references to either of these two important ministries of the Church but, rather, the washing of the feet! Jesus gives a new commandment: “You have seen what I – the Lord and Master – have done: you must be willing to become the servant of all if you wish to be my disciples.” (my own loose translation of today’s Holy Gospel) In this, Jesus is not calling us to “slavery” but to “Service.” And we need to see the difference. When I entered the Dominicans as a lay brother in 1959 many of my friends thought that I was demeaning myself and taking on a role of “slave” in service to the better class of priests. Yet, in that era, this reading from the Acts had the same intent: that the ministry of the priests was important and that they should be free to preach and minister sacramentally. We are all called to “service” and this is still the basis of our coming together as a Christian community no matter what our official roles are. If we look at the lives of any of our saints you are sure to see “service” shinning brightly in all that they did. I like to give the example of what I call my “wastebasket theology: ”if you toss a wad of paper into the wastebasket and miss and don’t go over and pick it up … don’t ever expect to be called a saint!” Think about that! Amen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *