Every weekend this summer, I was the greeter to runners, joggers and walkers at 5ks all over Ohio as soon as they crossed the finish line. My “script” included a couple claps, a “Woohoo!” followed by a “Can I clip the timing chip off of your shoe?” with my trusty pliers, kneeling down to their feet, cutting it off and ending with a “Great job/Congrats!”.
I was pushed, fallen on, had countless sweat droplets trickle on me and barely escaped being thrown up on on several occasions. But this duty taught me more than what is on the surface. Just this past weekend, the volunteer who clipped chips with me said, “This is such a humbling job! It’s like I’m at the feet of Jesus.” He read my mind. Precisely.
My affection for the phrase, “at the foot of the Cross/at the feet of Jesus”, began in the spring. I had the opportunity to go to the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference and the theme was “At the Foot of the Cross”. It didn’t phase me on that February day but ever since, a day has not passed in which I don’t think about this concept; a position of humility, reverence and adoration.
Not only did I win a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (it’ll greet you as you walk in my apartment if you’re ever needing a visual of divine love), but I learned the importance of placing myself at His feet in each moment. As the priest says in the Eucharistic Prayers, “from the rising of the sun to its setting, a pure sacrifice may be offered to Your name.” Our lives should exhibit a pure sacrifice all day long for the One who sacrificed everything.
“He was pierced for our offenses and crushed for our sins” – Isaiah 53: 5. That is my offenses and my sins. It is your offenses and your sins. His selfless Death covered it all. He achieved victory for your sake!
Hanging on the Cross, Jesus set us free. Not red, white and blue free but crimson red free. His blood paid your price. The whips, the thorns, the nails, the suffocation. It’s harsh. But it was undergone for you! If you were the only one to walk this earth, Jesus still would have endured the Cross for you because you are worth dying for (even more than kneeling for).
We can’t deny this. We can’t say, “Thanks but no thanks”. We can’t refuse His life saving act. Even if we wanted to (let’s talk if you want to), God chose you first. Not the other way around.
Jesus is like that annoying kid at recess back in Kindergarten who chanted “Tag you’re it! No tap backs!!” And we are like slow Kerigan in Kindergarten who aimlessly ran around trying to find someone to tag. Kindergarten Kerigan never found anyone to tap back. The annoying kid won every time.
So Jesus is not annoying in the slightest but he gets dibs. He tells us that we can’t return His grace. Despite our unworthiness, He does not allow us to leave Him without His gift. The only place He wants us to run is into His arms (but no tap backs). Jesus won and continues to do so each moment!
His death is not a thing of past. It is a source of constant newness! Jesus became like us and took on the flesh so youbetchya He knows exactly what you are going through. And He is still on the cross right now to experience His suffering with you. “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5.
We can look to Mary for guidance in humbly kneeling before her Son. Mother knows best. We can’t deny it. And our Heavenly Mother knows best of the best. She not only brought Jesus into this world with complete devotion but never stopped adoring Him. In His final breaths, she did not waver. Mary remained at the foot of the Cross. She knelt at that Cross because that Cross changed everything.
I challenge you to return to the Cross every morning. Seek ways in which you can emulate His perfect sacrifice. Ways in which you can live with more humility. Ways in which you can die to this world to know Him better. All because He died to know you.