Holy Thursday: This Wasn’t in My Plans

BY MARCOS GONZALES | April 14, 2022
Today’s Readings

Every grandparents’ day, my parents take my nephew out for a meal to enjoy some special time with him. This is something he looks forward to every year. One year, their initial plan to go to a diner was thwarted by it being closed. My parents adjusted plans and went to a fast-food restaurant instead. My nephew was devastated when they drove away from the diner. Crying in frustration, he said, “this wasn’t in my plans!”

Holy Thursday: This Wasn't in My Plans

I have resonated a lot with my nephew as I reflect on the elements of my own frustrations. I had hoped that the racial awakening after the murder of George Floyd, and our collective compassion, grown from suffering a global pandemic together, might be a catalyst for change. And yet, the sense of justice and peace I hungered for feels more elusive than ever. 

On this Holy Thursday, we are returned to Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. I often connect with Peter, who in his own exclamation of things “not being in his plans,” continues to misunderstand Jesus, and get things wrong: cutting off someone’s ear, denying Jesus, hiding in the upper room. Peter’s frustration is so palpable to me, the confusion of the injustice around us can be suffocating at times. We approach Easter, and yet our world does not seem any closer to ending wars, changing the course of climate change, eradicating systemic racism, or managing pandemic outbreaks.

As Jesus ate his last supper, the world around him was not moving towards greater peace, but that did not stop him from offering a model of how to respond to the confusion and frustration we might find ourselves in. Jesus models a way to channel our frustration, by washing each other’s feet. In service to one another, we might channel our frustration into Holy Frustration.

For Reflection: 

  • What thwarted plans are at the root of your frustration?
  • In what way might we need to have our own feet washed of the frustrations we have been carrying?
  • How can you wash someone else’s feet to respond to their frustration?
6 replies
  1. Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    Part of my holy frustration is the desire for all others to know/love/serve God in the best way they can. It is not only knowing and loving which are very important but the act of serving Him and all His people out of love. I intentionally reach out to offer God’s goodness and joy to others. I remember the joy of each Holy Thursday as we offer ourselves to God in a meaningful and intentional way so that Jesus will be known throughout the world. The holy frustration is good as we want God to be known more completely, we want to realize that in knowing and loving Him we serv Him better. I remember on that first Holy Thursday, Jesus offered Himself entirely to the Father and to us and today we offer ourselves to Him and ask Him to bless all the priests throughout the World with the graces and blessings of transforming love. May the Eucharist temper our holy frustration and bring us closer to Him and to others.

  2. Jill Hanson
    Jill Hanson says:

    My frustration is at the lack of progress – indeed, the backsliding – on immigration reform. Year after year after year, whole families continue to live in the shadows, many here for 10, 15, 20 years, raising families of US citizen children, yet fearing they will be returned to the place they came from when they were a different person. Yet elected officials continue to do nothing, or worse, as here in Florida, to scapegoat immigrants for all the problems they fail to address.

  3. sonja
    sonja says:

    My heart aches for all the Muslims persecuted around the world for their steadfast prayer in China, India and Europe.

  4. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Thanks for the fresh insights and the new angles to work with in our search for justice.


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