As a kid, I loved the game “statues” which we played with our cousins and friends. One person would call out “statue” and the rest of us had to stop in our tracks in whatever position we were. It was the task of that person calling out “statue,” to make us laugh or move, but without touching us. While it seems so simple, it was not easy to stay frozen or focused and not get distracted.
That is what Jesus is inviting us to do during this great time of the TRIDUUM, the 3 holiest days of the year. Many of us, including myself, are busy planning outings or dinners with friends because it is the long weekend 😀. Jesus does not want us to stop enjoying our time with family. But He is also inviting us to pause and spend some time in prayer, with Him alone.
During the special Maundy Thursday service we commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus when He instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. We also reenact the washing of the feet of parishioners, in remembrance of the establishment of the special priesthood of the disciples (the first priests) by Jesus’s washing of their feet.
Following the Last Supper, the disciples went with Jesus to Gethsemane. He took with him Peter, James and John and began to be deeply grieved and agitated and he asked them to stay awake with him…
As children we struggled to stay still and got distracted in a blink of an eye. Today too, we have a constant source of distraction and temptation in the palms of our hands. Just as Jesus invited 3 of his disciples to stay awake and pray with him, in order to be prepared for the persecution to come, Jesus is inviting you and me to leave our phones and hold his hands in prayer instead. Just as we need to exercise daily, to strengthen our bodies, Jesus is inviting us to daily train our minds to focus on Him alone, so as to build up a strong and willing body, mind, and spirit to battle pressures and temptations?