Thursday, April 21, 2011
A Missed Mass
Driving home the half hour it took, the four of us spoke of the mishap. Eric chuckled and Paul laughed. They found my mistake amusing. Emma joined in by cracking a few jokes too but she was quick to whisper, "Sorry God". I was embarrassed and confused as to how I had gotten the wrong time. I kept trying to see the bulletin's listing of Holy Week Mass times in my head but of course I could not. I was feeling sad and hoped God would understand that I'd at least tried to get my family to Holy Thursday services.
For me at least, it's a weird feeling to miss Mass. I have always felt that way since I was a child. Sure, there have been days of illness, days of travel, and occasional days of playing hooky, but going to Mass on Sundays and on Holy Days is what is right for me. Missing Mass doesn't feel right, even when it's an accident. On the way to church tonight my husband, my children, and I discussed what Holy Thursday Mass would consist of. The one thing we commented upon was the washing of the feet ritual which symbolizes Jesus Christ's washing the feet of his Apostles, the first priests. The evening service marks also Jesus' last supper with the disciples, Christ's farewell to His assembled disciples, some of whom would betray, desert or deny Him before the sun rose again.
Upon arriving home from the missed Mass I reminded myself of other features of the Holy Thursday liturgy. I also read up on how for many centuries, the Last Supper of Our Lord has inspired great works of art and literature.
Tonight's missed Mass was unfortunate and I will surely be more careful next time to record the time correctly. Still, I have worked tonight to put my heart and my mind inside the church so as to hear the gospel I missed at Mass. Feeling humbled in realization that I may have let Him down tonight, I share that gospel now, in hopes that if there is someone else who may have wished to have been there at Mass tonight, these words will work their power on you. I truly believe that God works in mysterious ways. I'm hoping that my missing Mass tonight was a part of His overall, bigger-than-me, plan.
The Gospel according to John 13: 1-15.
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
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.”