Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

In today’s gospel, Jesus promises humiliation and pain. After washing the apostles’ feet (a task done by only the lowest of servants), He then reminds the apostles that “no disciple is greater than his master.” All of this, of course, happens before He goes off to the Crucifixion. If Jesus undergoes such sufferings, we may expect the same for ourselves. Then, He tells the apostles that “I know those whom I have chosen.” In this, we can take great comfort.

First of all, we may take comfort in the fact that Jesus knows our sufferings. He is no “armchair general,” sending His underlings into situations He cannot comprehend. For as long as man has conceived of a Higher Power in the cosmos, he has wondered about that Power’s response to the suffering in this world. As Christians, we know that God’s response to evil is not to wave it away with a magic wand and pretend that it never happened, but to enter into the very heart of it. The Son sees the evil done to us, and comes alongside us to endure it with us. And when He is with us, He knows who He is with. He knows who He has chosen. When He gives us consolation, it is not generic “cookie cutter” consolation, but grace tailored to who we are, by the One who knows us best of all. Knowing this, we may take hope in the midst of whatever comes our way.

May 15th, 2014