A family meal is holy, it binds parents and children together. Christ’s supper is similar, it binds us to Him and each other. Preparing to eat that supper, we remember our first holy communicants, who like the apostles will share bread with the lord in May, and we welcome the eucharistic ministers about to be commissioned. And as we eat together lets confess where we fail to live in loving communion with all around us…
This is my body given up for you. Christ’s cross and eucharist are linked. The mass is the cross constantly re-enacted to take away our sins. Like the apostles at the last supper we too pray, read scriptrue, & sing. This is our life, for Christ himself says that unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood we won’t have life in us. But he or she who eats his flesh and drinks his blood has eternal life and will be raised up on the last day. No wonder our fathers in hard times walked barefoot to mass.
They were doing what Christians did from the church’s origins. Paul says of the first churches: “they met together for the prayers and the breaking of bread”. This gave them their identity, it also gives us our identity. We can pray at home, but, except for old age or sickness, it can’t replace Sunday worship as part of Christ’s body. And it must be on Sunday, because that’s when Christ rose from the dead, and when receiving his body we’re raised us too. Coming together each Sunday we become his holy people. For going to the altar and saying amen to “the body of Christ”, we affirm both his Real Presence for us and that we are his body gathered in church. For faith is never just me and God; its me as a member of the living body, empowered us to go live the faith in charity.
Thats why washing of the feet is a vital part of our ceremony tonight. Each communion should inspire us to bring Christ to the world through humble service. By washing the disciples’ feet Christ said that communion should issues in humble loving service of God and others in daily life. Helping famine victims in Africa or of war in the wider world, and spreading charity at home. But this lesson is especially meant for an institutional church that too often serves its own wealth and glory rather than God’s needy children in the world. Its good that I’m washing the feet of children’s tonight for the church should do humble penance for its sins against children in recent times. There couldn’t have been a more horrible counterwitness to the eucharist. For Christ washed the feet of his apostles to teach us that church’s role is to be a slave of all God’s children, especially the poor and weak. If our mass doesn’t lead to such active humble love its an empty ritual; an elaborate lie.
So let our enactment of the last supper in which Jesus instituted the eucharist commit us both to life-long Sunday mass and communion, and a life of humble charity. So that communion may enrich and make us part of eternal life and enable us to be his healing hands to the world. Saying “do this in memory of me”, he says receive me every Sunday and then go out and wash my needy children’s feet. For this world’s hard values of which Satan is lord crucifies the weak, vulnerable and frail in our midst. But empowered by this mass, we’re asked to be Christ’s healing hands of love, happiness and salvation to a needy world forever, amen.
So as God’s people gathered on this holy night lets wash feet as a sign of our commitment to the mass, and to humble service of God and others; lets commit ourselves in our small way to turning the cruel sinful world into a humble kingdom of love in Christ.
Having washed the feet lets affirm our faith with fresh hearts…
Prayers of the Faithful
And as a eucharistic people lets pray confidently for our needs..
For the church throughout the world that in its great eucharistic mission it may be a humble servant of the servants of God and so build up Gods healing kingdom in our needy world..
For civil leaders that they too may humbly serve all the people, especially the poor and most vulnerable in society..
For ourselves that we may constantly give thanks to God for the great gifts of the mass and communion, and spread the dazzling light we have received to all we meet..
For youth, may they be faithful to Christ who gave all for them and offers them himself in the eucharist as their food of life, a share in God’s life both for their happiness here and forever…
For our eucharistic ministers who so unselfishly give of themselves to serve God’s people that they may be blessed in their ministry and lives in every way….
This holy night we ask God to inspire more young people to become priests, religious and lay ministers in the church..
For the sick, the aged, and the housebound, may they find healing and comfort in the prayers and care of those who help them..
For our dead who enjoy the banquet of eternal life prefigured by their sharing in the communion banquet already in this life..
We ask these prayers on this Holy night of the Last Supper with joyful trust in his enduring love with us here in the mass, amen.
They asked Napoleon when he was dying what was his happiest moment, was it when he took the crown of Europe? “No”, he said, “it was my first holy communion”. At last he realised what the greatest thing in the world is, to be one with its Lord. Lets always cherish this gift of his enduring love and presence with us, and come to the table of Christ every Sunday with grateful and joyful hearts…Hail Mary.