Tonight we begin a trilogy of Holy week celebrations with the liturgy of the Lord’s last supper. It was the first holy communion. About to die, Christ gave his very self to us for all time to nourish and sustain his people. Lets thank him for that great gift and confess any ways we fail to appreciate it…
Before the giving of the Eucharist tonight Judas walked out and sold Christ for 30 pieces of silver. Today many walk out on him too for money and worldly values. We must all avoid that Satanic trap. Like the apostles we must stay at his table, loyal to the mass, the faith and the church. We mustn’t sell our souls for any quantity of silver, but follow the humble Jesus who washed the feet of his followers to ease their discomfort.
For those walking dry Palestinian tracks in sandals, without socks, naturally ended up with dusty feet. So these were usually washed when they entered a house for dinner. The person who did this was the lowest servant in the house. While the apostles were arguing who’d be top dog, Jesus, the lord of all, washed their feet like the lowest servant. They were shocked, but it taught them a real lesson. The greatest in God’s kingdom are those who serve, not those who lord it over others. Its a lesson for authorities in the church and indeed civil authorities too.
Significantly, it was after the washing of the feet that Jesus then gave the apostles the first Holy Communion. Because this too was a great act of humble service. “This is my body given up for you” he said. Those words are repeated at every mass, because he told them to do this for all time: wherever you gather, do this in memory of me, He said. That’s what we are doing tonight. For in this mystery He’s with us for all time providing the food by which we too grow strong in the faith to serve God and others. Its the living bread we need for a journey through life to glory.
But its for our happiness in this world too. This food given to us, His modern day apostles, is the sustenance our souls need for life. That’s why the church insists we come to mass every Sunday. This food gives us the strength to live as he told us to, in love, goodness, truth and happiness. Its only by its power that we can transform the world, make a difference by our lives.
If you don’t believe me listen to Christ’s own words; “unless you eat the flesh of he Son of Man you will not have life in you”. That how important it is. No wonder the church said at one time that it was a mortal sin to miss mass. Thank God, they no longer stress that for we should not come to this table out of love and need not compulsion. Christ goes on to say: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day”. In the strength of this food eaten regularly each Sunday we grow in God’s life here below and at death flower into eternity. Nourished by it, when he comes again at the end of the world we’ll go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom and be raised up in body and soul. For the things of this world pass away and leave us empty at last, even money and possessions are useless in the grave. As Judas should have known, we can’t take it with us. But Jesus in communion is lord of life, love, happiness, truth, beauty and salvation both for this life and forever and ever. Each mass and communion anticipates the final great banquet God has prepared for us his faithful. So to signify humble love for others, the fruit of this sacrament, I’ll wash the feet of 12 people…
And as God’s people caring for those around us with Christ’s humble giving love, lets profess our faith this holy night.
Prayers of the Faithful
And having washed feet in imitation of Christ lets ask our Father who loves us for the things we need…
For the church throughout the world and its leaders that they may not lord it over the people but always witness to the humble love and service of others that brings Christ to earth…
For our civil leaders that they may not use their office to serve themselves but all people, especially the poor and vulnerable.
For our youth that they may not spend their lives in pursuit of wealth, pleasure and fame alone but also in the humble service of God and others, the path to lasting happiness and peace…
For ourselves in our homes, may we inspire our children and all around us to come each Sunday without fail to the Lord’s table..
For the sick, the lonely, the old and the neglected that through our washing of their feet, they may know the love of God..
For our own special needs, we pray silently this holy night..
For those who have died, that having partaken of his body and blood in this life they may be raised up to glory as He promised.
And we ask all these prayers through the same Christ our Lord who as the bread of life is with us forever, amen.
It is good that we wash the feet of the God’s children tonight for the criminal failure of the church in modern times has been the abuse of vulnerable children. It was like Judas’s betrayal of Christ, only more so. To walk away from the table of the lord and sell out Christ present in his most innocent children, is a crime even worse than that of Judas. For it was about unaccountable power. So at this feast its right we wash the feet of God’s children to make reparation for those wrongs. To remind us that we should all serve others and be innocent like little children. So lets pray to Mary that we may turn away from all exploitation and be true servants of God and others as Christ asked..Hail Mary