A guest needed to pick up some things that had been shipped to the wrong address, and there was no one else available to take her when I received a text asking for the favor. I was able to rearrange my schedule so I could both finish my work and perform this hospitable service, but that sure didn’t keep me from griping inside!
When I met her, car keys in my hand, her gratitude came flooding over me like a tidal wave, and her smile melted my reluctance into a distant memory. We chatted along the way and I lost track of time. The people at our destination were so delightful I started to really enjoy this excursion away from my perennial, smile-less piles of work. After we finished the errand, I figured the rest of the afternoon was shot because of traffic, and I noticed that she seemed a little ill at ease. I asked her if she needed something else, and she hesitatingly admitted that, yes, she needed to go do one more thing. When I told her I wouldn’t mind taking her, there was another torrent of exuberant gratitude, and so we were off into the rhythm of another wonderful conversation.
In today’s Gospel, our Lord has just finished washing the feet of His disciples and He says, “If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.” (John 13:17) And indeed there is something remarkably, even miraculously, blessed about serving others. The Saints have echoed this blessing through their lives of self-giving love, and one of Pope Saint John Paul II’s foundational thoughts is that humanity finds itself by making a sincere gift of itself. We sing the words of Saint Francis’s prayer, “ . . . in giving of ourselves we receive.”
What do we receive? Life, joy, freedom, perspective, growth, and wider horizons.
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Sisters, let’s ask for the grace to adore and love the King of the Universe who humbles Himself to wash the feet of the disciples and to be the Bread of Life for us. Then let us draw near to Him, asking for the strength to be servants to all those He calls us to love.
Sister Maria Kim Bui is a Daughter of Saint Paul, women religious dedicated to evangelization in and through the media. She is originally from Tempe, AZ, spent most of her fourteen years in religious life in the northeast, and is part of a bilingual evangelization team of sisters serving in Texas. Find out more about her here.