Lent has come to a close and today we entered into the Easter Triduum. This is the pinnacle of our faith; the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. This evening we celebrated Mass, emphasizing the institution of the Eucharist. We read the history of the Passover from Exodus. We then read the recalling of the Last Supper account in Corinthians. The Gospel of John was Jesus washing his disciples feet. The Mass of Holy Thursday is filled with history, tradition and symbolism. It is absolutely beautiful!
Lately, I have heard or read comments from a few people who think that a relationship with Jesus and participating in religion are two separate entities. That somehow religion is unnecessary. While participating in Mass tonight, I was thinking about this argument. During the washing of the feet it struck me that the Church exists because Jesus commanded it so with the commissioning of the apostles. Religion exists because of Apostolic Succession (begun by Christ) and Tradition.
I agree that certain practices will not guarantee us a place in Heaven, but their intention is to guide us on our paths towards holiness. Many practices are disciplines (the Rosary, The Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Stations of the Cross, etc). They won't save us, but they can assist us on our journey. For these gifts I am humbled and grateful.
The conclusion of Mass was the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. As I knelt before the Blessed Sacrament with my family, I kept hearing the words, "Come to me all who are weary and I shall give you rest." I have experienced the "desert" a number of times this past Lent. I came to Mass this evening, tired and feeling a bit overwhelmed with some unrest in my life. Christ's message for me was to let go and "Let Him." Not easy for a Type A personality.
Tonight I am challenged with Christ's example to serve others. Each day is another opportunity to serve others out of love and selflessness. With Christ as my strength and my relationship with Him renewed through the Eucharist, I am equipped with the tools necessary.