By Jon Chalmers

Two nights ago, on the night before Jesus was crucified, after he washed the feet of the disciples, he rejoined them at the table and asked the question that has haunted me over the course of this Holy Week:

Do you realize what I have done for you?

Can you grasp it? Is a reality for you? Are you able to know what I have done?

Two nights ago, we were at the table with Jesus and the disciples remembering the institution of the Eucharist and seeing the model he presented of washing his disciples’ feet. And he asked that terrible question amidst his devout group of disciples when it was already clear that they didn’t fully grasp the reality that was before them.

Yesterday we were at Golgotha in the pit of despair as we heard again the account of his death upon the cross. And we learned more about the quality of that question; we learned something even more terrible than betrayal. We came to know, again, about the gruesome death of one whom we know only to be good.

Tonight, we have a vivid instruction about how to answer the question:

Do you realize what I have done for you?

Yes Lord, we are seeing.

Yes Lord, we are learning what you have done for us.

We began this most holy evening with fire and water, blessings and proclamations. And in those moments of darkness and mystery we bring forth the primal elements of creation: fire that brings forth the stars in their courses and water that brings forth all life. We used them to convey the mysteries of our lives of faith. We bless them and put them in service to the Church and its faithful, remembering especially those who make their profession and promises of faith here in our midst for the first time.

We read how God called forth all creation and we recall that before all these most primal elements even came to be, there was God. And in God there was God’s Word, the Logos, the divine principle through whom all creation came to be.

Do you realize what I have done for you? The Word made flesh asked when seated amongst his disciples.

He has ordered the cosmos. He has brought order and joy to creation. He has called us out of darkness and toward the light. We began tonight as we began in Creation, in the dark, and we’ve been called forth into the light.

Do you realize what I have done for you?

God entered into covenant with us through Abraham, forming his people and revealing his law to Moses. Through the prophets, he prepared them to accept salvation. He brought them out of bondage and through the water into a land of their own.

Do you realize what I have done for you?

Christ, the Son of God made man; the Father’s one, perfect, and unsurpassable Word came to us. The Word made flesh was born of Mary and dwelt among us. He gave us the fullness of revelation while emptying himself, ultimately even of the air and the Spirit.

Do you realize what I have done for you?

The tomb is empty. He is not in it. He is living. He is not to be found with the dead.

The first message of Easter is from the angels, the men in dazzling garments, who say to the women, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you…..”

In the resurrection we have the crowning truth of our faith in Christ – a faith that was shown and believed to the first community of Christian believers, was handed on by Tradition, established by the writings of the New Testament, and known, as now, as an essential part of the Paschal mystery, inseparable from the cross.

Through our participation in his death and his rising to life we have become that royal priesthood, that holy nation. We have been invited to share in the life of him who came to us and with who we hope to life eternally. We have come from God and we are going to God.

Do you realize what I have done for you?

The Word of God present before and throughout Creation has come to us in the fullness of life. Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law and taught us to love. Through his passion, death and resurrection he has redeemed our lives, freed us from sin, and opened to us the way to share eternal life with Him.

He came into our lives so that we might not fear life.

He went to the cross so that we might not fear the cross.

He went to his death so that we might not fear death.

He redeemed our sins so that we might embrace God’s mercy and not fear his justice.

He loved us so that we can love.

And so we come to the holy night remembering that question he

posed to the disciples on the night before he died,

posed to us two nights ago,

posed in a way by the women who went to the tomb,

posed by Peter perhaps as he stooped to see the burial shroud alone in the tomb,

posed to new members of the Church, the body of Christ,

posed to each and every one of us tonight especially and always.

Do you realize what I have done for you?

Our life now and eternally begins when we do.

The Rev. Jon Chalmers is president of Christo Rey School in Birmingham, Alabama and pastor of Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Gate City, Alabama.