Thursday, April 13, 2017

April 13, 2017 Holy Thursday A

April 13, 2017 Holy Thursday A

Click to hear Audio Homily
After one of the masses in Napoleonville, a mother of a priest approached me and said, “I’m going to visit the old folks at the nursing home and bring them communion.” She said this with a wide grin on her face. She herself is up in her 80’s, and she doesn't consider herself too old to serve. She didn’t seem like a person who would retire; she wanted to serve as long as her body allows . Do we also have this kind of attitude toward life?

Tonight, Our Lord demonstrates for us the intimate connection between the Eucharist and a loving service to others. Before sitting down for the Passover meal, in a surprise move, Jesus got down on his knees and washed the feet of his disciples. While he washed the feet of his disciples, Jesus was only too aware of the bickering among his disciples as to who was the greatest, and who should rank before the other. The disciples had yet to learn that in the Kingdom of God, the leader is one who serves. It is a poignant message for us priests, parents, teachers, employers, and managers.

Like Peter, we may not fully understand the meaning behind what Jesus did. Jesus explained to his disciples: "Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,  you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do."

Jesus, who is Our Lord and Master, King of Kings, took off His cloak of Royal Splendor and became a Servant. He washed the feet of those whom He had chosen to continue His Redemptive work. He showed them what they were chosen to do. Then He enlisted them to live lives of self emptying Love for the world. To bear the name "Christian" is to walk in this kind of love in the midst of a broken and wounded world waiting to be reborn. Just as the body of Jesus is broken and given to us at Mass, we are also called to be broken up and given to others. There is something lacking if we are devout in our regular attendance at Mass but our lives are lived individualistically and selfishly. There is also something lacking if we are totally committed to caring for others but never gather in community to remember, give thanks and break the bread together.

As the footwashing of disciples is re-enacted this evening, we are reminded to live the Eucharist we are receiving. Eucharist that we receive only becomes real after we leave the church. To live out the Eucharistic celebration means that we are to imitate the humility and love that Jesus has for us as we go about our daily lives. We live in a world which God still loves. He still sends His Son into that world, through the Church of which we are members. That world is being recreated anew as He continues His Mission through us, the Church.