As I sit refining my thoughts for tonight’s homily, I’m mindful of the ‘main ingredients’ of this Holy Thursday. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper highlights the three topics of Eucharist, Priesthood, and Charity.
Eucharist is perhaps most easily associated with the Last Supper. We are all familiar with Jesus gathering his disciples for this meal, in which he gives his final instruction regarding the significance of this meal in relating it to the events that will quickly follow; namely his ‘handing over’, passion, death, and resurrection.
During this Last Supper, Jesus tells us that this bread is His Body. This chalice is His Blood, which will be poured out for the life of the world. He tells us to continue to receive His Body and Blood, and to celebrate this ‘meal’ in His memory.
Also associated with the Last Supper is the washing of feet. There is so much power in this simple gesture! God, become man, in the person of Jesus, washing the feet of mere men. Jesus uses this simple, yet profound moment, to say: “If God can be so humble as to perform such a simple act of service for you, no one should be overlooked as I now send you into the world as my disciples.” Thus, the ministry of Priesthood is instituted this Sacred Night.
Finally, we hear the great commandment from Jesus in the same setting. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” (John 13:34) Here, Jesus speaks to all of us.
In Baptism, we are forever set aside, consecrated by and for Jesus. Our earthly pilgrimage is a gradual ‘giving in’ to Jesus, and a gradual ‘giving up’ of our self to Him. Our lives are to be marked more and more by this great commandment to love one another; freely, faithfully, fully.
Eucharist, Priesthood, Charity; Jesus’ recipe for “Church”. This is the ‘menu’ being served tonight at your local church. All are invited!