Thursday, April 17, 2014

04-17-2014 -- Holy Thursday, Year A

April 17, 2014 - Holy Thursday, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

Holy Thursday -- St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Scripture Readings

I don’t know if you noticed, but at the beginning of Mass this evening, the tabernacle was empty. It is empty now and it will remain empty until the end of the Easter Vigil.

Why? Because tonight we are not just remembering the Last Supper. We are actually participating in it.

Tonight we will recline at table with the Lord Jesus. We will hear him say to us, “Take and eat, this is my body given for you.”

The bread Jesus takes into his hands is his very life which is a gift from God the Father.

Tonight, it is this very gift that we will receive, the sacred body and blood of the Lord given to us at this supper.

And tomorrow afternoon, at the Good Friday service, the bread we will receive is also consecrated here tonight.

Why? Well first, because no mass is celebrated on Good Friday. And second, being here with Jesus at the Last Supper gives us the strength and courage to stand at the foot of the cross tomorrow afternoon.

The Eucharist gives us the spiritual grace we need to walk with Jesus these three holy days. We receive Jesus into ourselves so that his real presence continues among his followers.

It is beautiful and touching that we participate in the Last Supper. What a gift to be able to sit at the table with the Lord and share in his very life.

Now, as beautiful and as spiritually comforting and uplifting as this evening is, it is meaningless if we fail to remember that there is another very important work that takes place at the Last Supper.

Jesus rises from the table to wash the feet of the disciples. This simple action of Jesus is so profound. God desires to wash our feet, to purify us and to sooth us.

It is very humbling to have Jesus wash our feet. That’s why Peter protests. He thinks that maybe he should be the one washing Jesus’ feet.

And he’s right! He should be. And you and I should be as well.
We have been called to imitate Jesus through our own acts of service.

Pope Francis has said, “This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I am called to do.

“Washing your feet means that I am at your service. I love doing it because that is what the Lord has taught me.”

This is what the Lord has taught us: that we are called to help one another.

Are we really willing to help others? And what is it we are supposed to be doing anyway?

Any act of love or service or charity that takes us out of our comfort zone and humbles us is a type of foot washing.

The examples are endless:

Ignoring a nasty post online.

Refraining from posting a nasty comment when we really want to.

Holding our tongue when we’d rather say something snide or ugly.

But even more than that, doing something for someone who can’t do in return, not giving to a faceless charity, but doing something for an actual human person.

Risking one’s life to save the life of a friend.

Being kind and gracious when we could be otherwise.

Befriending a classmate who’s always being picked on.

Giving freely of ourselves to answer the call from Christ, “Follow me.”

Helping take care of someone who is terminally ill so that person can die peacefully at home.

Volunteering at a community service center.

Anything that challenges us to look beyond ourselves, to recognize and respond to the needs of others.

Our acts of love and service and charity help us touch and wash the feet of Jesus, because we know that what we do for the least among us, we do for the Lord.

Jesus has given us the precious gift of himself. Tonight we are reminded to get out there and give Jesus something in return.

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