Thursday, April 13, 2017

Holy Thursday Nostalgia

So here we are. The ceremonial washing of the feet. It's funny, when I was a kid, I saw my dad get his feet washed and thought that that made him one of the 12 Apostles, and kept wondering to myself (and by "to myself" I mean "aloud to my mom for several hours") which one he was. John? Peter? ...Some other one who must've been less important since I couldn't at the time remember all their names...?

One time we went to a ceremonial Seder Meal (which I always read as "satyr" the little goat men from Greek mythology), and I got to drink grape juice instead of wine like all the "big kids." But instead of drinking all my grape juice in one go every time they told us to drink it, I sipped. Which, of course, led to having a full cup of grape juice by the end of the meal, and to my subsequent chugging of said grape juice. Ordinarily, I doubt this would have been that big of a deal, except that I'm pretty sure there were a few parishioners that didn't realize it was grape juice I was chugging, and thought I had just nabbed my parents' wine and went to town.

I remember getting to see two of my friends go up and have their feet washed when I was a teenager, and being thoroughly intrigued at the prospect of having young men - high schoolers! - get their feet washed, instead of the dads I had always seen have it done in years passed. It dawned on me that there was a distinct possibility that we had the ability to be holy even at this young age. And I know this seems like a silly thought - of course we have that ability. We've been drilled since early CCD (back when it was even called "CCD") to understand that we have that ability. But there really is something about seeing your buddies up there, dressed to the nines in their spiffy suits, with their shoes off, wearing a reverent expression and allowing a priest to wash their feet. It does something to you. It makes you proud. It makes you want to emulate that. And really - isn't that how we all should view holiness?

Last Holy Thursday, I got to do a fun thing: I managed to go to every Triduum service. Holy Thursday Mass - Check. Good Friday Service - Check. Easter Vigil - Check. But I got to go all by myself.

I wasn't dragged by my family. I hadn't coordinated with them on what time to get there and where we were going to sit and when to leave, etc, etc. I just went.

And here's the fun part: I got to sit with a gaggle of my friends who were doing the same thing. Just us. And I'll tell you, it's a pretty weird sensation when you realize that you're still going to church when you don't have to. It's even weirder when you notice your friends are doing it too. And it's weirdest when you're looking forward to it because you realize that you're not going alone - that your friends are going to be there and that they're excited about it too.

Because everything in us is saying that we aren't supposed to be that way. And sometimes we're not. Sometimes it's boring and we feel like we have to do it because we owe it to someone: parents maybe. Or God, or your spazzy youth ministry leader...

But every once in a while you get a little glimpse of "hey, this is cool! Look who else is here!" And even if it's really faint and short-lived, recognize it for what it is. That's just The Big Man telling you that you're not alone. That it's ok to be excited. And it's ok to be excited even if it's just because there's someone here you can sit with. That's fine. In fact, that's good. Hold onto that.