Holy Thursday retreat: The Lord's invitations
The Lord extends two invitations to us ―
neither of them easy to accept.
The first invitation is to 'drop the stone.'
The events of Holy Thursday show us
the Lord disarming Himself, granting his enemies
power over him – beginning with Judas
all through the guards that arrested and tortured Him,
and the Jewish leaders who condemned Him.
What our Lord did on Holy Thursday,
we are invited to do:
Drop the rocks and stones in our hands.
These rocks and stones only weigh us down.
The stockpile of weapons we hide and hoard
for future use against our enemies –
they end up harming only ourselves.
Stop here for a while,
and think of one or two persons who have hurt you –
or worse, who have harmed those whom you love.
What would it take for you
to drop your stone?
What would it take for you to forgive?
Don’t rush into answers.
Just stay with the questions.
Holy Thursday has a second – even tougher – invitation.
On Holy Thursday,
Jesus yielded to the first desert temptation,
but with a twist that no one –
not even the devil – saw coming:
He turned the stone into bread
to feed his very enemies.
We have an old and wise saying:
"Don’t bite the hand that feeds you."
Our Lord tossed that nugget of wisdom
right out the window,
and turned it around
by doing the exact opposite:
He fed the mouths that had bitten him.
"Love your enemies."
Hasn’t that always been
one of his toughest teachings?
But because it's pretty abstract,
it feels almost easy to accept it.
But on Holy Thursday, our Lord shows us concretely
what it entails –
and just how hard it is!
"Feed the mouth that bites you."
It is a difficult and dangerous invitation,
but one that our Lord Jesus accepted
and continued to embrace all throughout his Passion.
That same invitation is extended to us:
Not to cast stones on our enemies,
But to feed them
with the bread of our forgiveness.
In these changing times, courage and clarity become even more important.
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