April 2, 2015 - Holy Thursday, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
On this Holy Night, priests and deacons throughout the world will get down on their knees in imitation of the Lord Jesus and wash the feet of 12 people.
There are about 400,000 Catholic priests in the world. That’s over 4 million people who are having their feet washed on this night.
To have someone kneel before you and wash your feet is a very humbling thing. We know this because of our own discomfort with having someone wash our feet, but also because of Peter’s protest.
“Lord, you will never wash my feet.”
The Lord Jesus calls us to imitate him in this act of service. “I have given you an example to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” The Lord Jesus calls us to wash the feet of others.
Of course, the footwashing is symbolic. The call is a call to service, the call is a call to charity, the call is a call to reach out to those in need.
The call is a call to imitate Jesus through acts of service and acts of self-giving. The challenge is to look at our lives and see if there is any self-giving at all.
It’s easy to become completely self-centered and self-absorbed.
Today I see more and more people who push others around to get their way, not caring at all how their actions impact others. The sense of entitlement is astonishing and disheartening.
Many simply do not lift a finger to help others. If we are going to call ourselves Catholic Christians, then it cannot be that way with us.
Jesus, our Savior and our Lord, calls us to live lives of service, to be self-giving rather than self-centered.
Acts of kindness and acts of self-giving should simply be part of our everyday lives: a good deed daily or paying it forward from time to time or a gift to a favorite charity or volunteering at church or for some other civic organization or visiting the sick or elderly or any other act of kindness, act of charity or act of self-giving you can think of.
The selfless acts don’t end with the foot washing on this Holy Night. Jesus takes bread and says of it: this is my body, broken for you. Eat and be nourished.
Jesus takes wine and says of it: this is my blood, poured out for you. Drink and you will live.
We are taught from an early age to believe that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Eucharist.
Jesus’ greatest act of self-giving, the Eucharist, is Jesus’ gift to you and to me. Pope Francis reminds us that it is not a prize. It is not meant to be hoarded. It is meant to be shared, broken, given.
Food for the journey. Strength for the weary. Hope for the downtrodden. Forgiveness for the sinner. Healing for the sick. Inspiration for believers.
Jesus gives of himself totally and completely so that hungry hearts may be fed.
On this Holy Night, we come to witness an act of service and act of self-giving.
The act of service, the footwashing. The act of self-giving, the Eucharist. These acts inspire us to go out into the world and do the same.