Meeting God in the Cross

Meeting God in the Cross

By Christine Granese

Co-founder of Amigos de Jesús

Participating in the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday last year.

Participating in the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday last year.

Twenty years ago, Anthony and I were living in one of the little homes that the older boys live in presently in Macuelizo and I was getting ready to wash some feet.  Amigos de Jesús was in the process of being built and we were living across the river in Macuelizo. 

Every Friday afternoon at 4:00 PM, I held a Bible Study group in the backyard with coffee and cake. This gathering brought many women, anywhere from 30 to maybe 50 women with their children and every once in awhile and elderly gentlemen who just sat and listened to us. We read from a little booklet called “Daily Word” which had a reading and a daily theme with a Bible verse. We read it and the verse and went around the large gathering to share what the words meant to us and what we could take from these readings. It was a special, holy time and no one was ever in a hurry to leave.  There was laughter and tears and a communion of hearts. 

On Holy Thursday of 1999, 12 women had their names picked so the washing of the feet could take place. I was getting a basin of water and towels ready and feeling so very humbled and awkward as I prepared to do the washing. 

I remember asking God to give me gentleness and kindness like He had displayed in that washing of the feet of His disciples, so very long ago. I did not know if the women would show for this gathering, giggle through it or express another behavior. All I knew was, I felt honored and humbled at the same time with this process and in this event.

This gift of the cross commemorated in the Eucharistic celebration.

This gift of the cross commemorated in the Eucharistic celebration.

The women did show, lots of them, and the 12 women came beautifully dressed and with their best shoes that they owned. We started with a prayer and I knelt before the first woman and she said to me, “Cristina, I can’t let you wash my feet.” 

I replied, “I am sure that is how each disciple felt that night and that is precisely why you must let me do this.  I am not only humbled to be the washer, but you must also be humbled to receive this gift and let me do this.” There were tears in my eyes and with each woman tears flowed down their cheeks.

Is this not the representation of surrendering and accepting? Is this not the gift of the cross?  Jesus dies on the cross in an act of solidarity in human form and in human experience. It is an act of divine empathy and relationship. In the cross, our pain meets God’s pain, our suffering meets God’s suffering and in our forsakenness, we meet God’s forsakenness.

In this simple act of washing feet, we were all one with God. No color, no race, no socioeconomic levels, but together in love, compassion, kindness and hope. On this Holy Thursday evening in Macuelizo, Honduras, I became one of them and they became one of me and I still bow my head in gratitude and humbleness for that night, for that experience, for that sharing, for that love.

In this simple act of washing feet, we were all one with God. No color, no race, no socioeconomic levels, but together in love, compassion, kindness and hope.