Handing over

The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
John 13: 2

 I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread…
1 Corinthians 11: 23

 What does it mean to hand oneself over?

Many years ago I was struck by the word “hand over” which we find in Paul’s account of the Eucharist as well as in John’s account of the Last Supper.

For me handing onself over conveys a giving of oneself – into the hands of God – to respond in love to what God asks of us.

In the Spanish version of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, we find many uses of the Spanish word – entrega – although we might not notice it because, in one of the most moving passages, it is translated as “sacrifice.” But una entrega is a conscious decision to put oneself into the hands of God.

And so I offer this alternative translation from paragraph 269 of Evangelii Gaudium:

Jesus’ handing himself over on the cross is nothing else than the culmination of the way he lived his entire life. Moved by his example, we want to enter fully into the fabric of society, sharing the lives of all, listening to their concerns, helping them materially and spiritually in their needs, rejoicing with those who rejoice, weeping with those who weep; arm in arm with others, we are committed to building a new world. But we do so not from a sense of obligation, not as a burdensome duty, but as the result of a personal option which brings us joy and gives meaning to our lives.

And so, washing the feet of the apostles flows from a life given to handing Himself over to the Father, a life lived in love and service.

And so we ought to wash one another feet.

 

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