The Lord’s Supper
Tonight we gather to once again immerse ourselves in the mystery Easter Love. This evening we begin the sacred Easter Tridium that remembers the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. Tonight we especially give thanks for the gifts of the Eucharist, the priesthood, and the example of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.
Holy Thursday celebrates the Last Supper and Jesus’ service of love by washing his disciple’s feet. On that night on which Jesus was betrayed he gave of himself without reserve.
At Supper, Jesus loving those who were his own even to the end, offered his Body and Blood, under the appearance of bread and wine. This self-giving love was consummated by his Sacrifice on the Cross. And in doing so, God revealed the extent of his love by being completely given-up for us who share in his life. We are invited to share in the mystery of God’s love by communing with Jesus which, in turn, strengthens us to give of ourselves to others.
We also remember that, on the night of the Last Supper, after Jesus gave the Eucharist to his Apostles, he then he enjoined on them the priesthood. This means that the mystery of God’s love, ending in Jesus’ Sacrificial offering of his life on the Cross, may be celebrated by his Church throughout time.
Tonight, we give thanks for the institution of the Eucharist by which under sacramental signs, Jesus brought to perfection the sacrifice of the old Law and continues to make present his Sacrifice offered once and for all on the Cross. Hence, the New Law is fulfilled every time we celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass and the washing of the feet is a visible sign of that Love.
Pope Benedict XVI called the sacrifice of the Mass the sacrament of charity. Charity is not a feeling; it is an act of goodness intended to give life. Jesus’ offering – his gift of charity that began at table, was signified by the washing of the disciple’s feet, and ended on the Cross, is the supreme act of goodness and the fullest expression Love!
This love is for each of us. It is a gift that is intimate and personal; inviting and involving. It is also a sign for us, so that we may do the same for each other. Amen.
Image: Jesus with the Eucharist at the Last Supper by Juan de Juanes, mid-late 16th century.