Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Holy Thursday, 29-03-2018

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14 / 1 Cor 11:23-26 / John 13:1-15

With this Mass, the Church begins the Sacred Paschal Triduum. Triduum means three days. So in simple terms, it means that today, tomorrow and the day after, we recall and remember the great events of our salvation in Jesus who was crucified, died, was buried and is risen.

In this Mass, we commemorate the Institution of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus and His disciples began with the Passover meal, a Jewish sacred meal that celebrates God’s saving power in freeing Israel from slavery and bringing them to freedom with signs and wonders. We heard about that in the 1st reading.

But from the Passover meal, Jesus changed some elements that made it into what is now called the “Last Supper”, which in effect is also the “First Eucharist”.

Jesus gave His Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine, and He commanded His apostles to do that in memory of Him. That’s why today is also called Maundy Thursday. Maundy is derived from the Latin “mandatum” which means mandate.

Yes, at the Last Supper, Jesus gave His apostles the mandate to do that in memory of Him and the salvation that He offers through His Body and Blood. That is also reiterated in the 2nd reading.

But from the profound institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, the gospel talks about something rather mundane – the washing of feet. But it was Jesus, the Master, who was washing His disciples’ feet. There was no mention of Jesus giving His Body and Blood, other than that they were at supper.

So what has the Eucharist got to do with the washing of feet, so much so that we will even re-enact it later?

The thing is that the feet of the disciples weren’t washed yet and they were waiting for one another to do this lowly and humbling task.

But for Jesus, He seized the opportunity to show them what is humility. He had always loved those who were His in this world, and now He showed how perfect His love was. And with that, Jesus connected the Eucharist with humility and service.

Later we priests are going to wash the feet of the 12 representatives of the community. 

At the Chrism Mass this morning, we priests renewed our commitment to Jesus and to serve Him in His people.

Like Jesus, we priests pledge to serve God’s people by faithfully and lovingly carrying out the sacred duty of celebrating the Holy Eucharist, and to serve, just like Jesus who came to serve and not to be served.

Jesus gave us priests, as well as you, the priestly people, an example so that we may follow what He has done for us. 

May the Eucharist make us holy, and may it also make us serve one another in love and in humility.