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Easter Sunday C: April 17, 2022

Luke 24:1-12

Fr. John Tran

The people of Thailand have a wonderful legend about the bamboo plant. When the great garden of the earth was first planted, Bamboo was the most beautiful plant of all, the favorite flower of the Master of the Garden. In one corner of the earth there were some dry fields. A spring of water was in the center of the fields, but its water could not reach the dry earth.

So the Master of the Garden called his beloved bamboo plant, “Noble Bamboo, I would use thee.”

And Bamboo replied, “I am ready. Use me as you will.”

The Master explained what he was going to do.

Bamboo shook with horror. Bamboo asked that he be spared the Master’s plan, but the Master explained that he had no choice. Bamboo then bowed before the Master of the Garden and said, “Do as you must, Master. Use me as you will.

And so the Master of the Garden took Bamboo and cut him down and hacked off his branches and stripped off his leaves, cleaved him in two and cut his heart out. Then the Master gently carried Bamboo to the fresh water spring and, putting one end of broken Bamboo in the spring and the other end into the water channel in the dry field, the Master gently laid down his beloved Bamboo. The clear water raced down the channel of Bamboo’s torn body into the waiting fields. The rice was planted, the shoots grew, and the harvest came.

On that day, Bamboo, once so glorious in its stately beauty, became more glorious in his brokenness and humility.

Like the legend of Bamboo, Jesus’ life is a story of how a spirit of humble servanthood can transform barrenness into bounty, evil into good, despair into hope, selfishness into justice, death into life. He asks of us who would be his disciples to embrace the role of servant, emptying ourselves of our own needs and wants and self-importance for the sake of others, realizing the profound truth that we receive only in giving, that greatness is found only in humility and service, that resurrection is possible only in suffering and death.

This is a hard lesson which can be learned and put into practice only with painstaking deliberate choice on the disciple's part, just as it was for our Savior who so loved us. It is to allow ourselves to be emptied; the only motive that we can have and remain faithful to Jesus is one of love. And not cheap love, not emotional love, but “agape love:” a love born of deliberate choice to put the other first, whether that other is God or a person.

Servanthood sounds noble and gives us a rush. But as we have seen in the Legend of Bamboo, it is no easy existence for us. Servanthood or discipleship is nothing short of giving ourselves away. More importantly, in the powerful life of Jesus, which we have been accompanying these past few days, from betrayal by a chosen disciple, through the road to Calvary, to the empty tomb and the resurrection, we have seen the extent Jesus was willing to go to give himself away in love of the Father and of all of us. This is the road of discipleship and the way to eternal life.

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