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Homily Holy Thursday 2010 – What Are We Doing Here

April 2, 2010

Audio of this homily is here.

There is a brief children’s homily before all this (don’t freak out!).

We are re-presenting the Last Supper tonight.

Listen to the word we use:  “re-presenting”.  Like our Jewish forebears, the things that we do by command of God (or by command of Jesus) “in remembrance” are not just memorials, and not just reenactments.

When we “do this in remembrance” of Jesus, by His command…we are actually there.  That’s why we read the narrative from Exodus, where God commands Moses to save the people of Israel on the night of the Passover, but also to establish this day as a memorial feast…“which all your generations shall celebrate”.  God expected the Israelites to remember His saving act…forever.

We need only connect the dots, here, Church, to understand what Jesus was doing at the Last Supper.  What Kind of meal was this?  The Passover.  What was it that Jesus said?  “Take…Eat…Drink…do this in memory of Me.”  He set the Apostles up with a substitute sacrifice, a new covenant in His blood.  And Paul tells us in the second reading that, “as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes”.  So, at each Eucharist, we are re-presenting, and re-proclaiming, the One Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross!  We received this gift from Christ; we now celebrate it daily as a memorial in the truest sense of the word: we “make present” His saving sacrifice every time!

There’s something else we’re going to do here tonight, too.  After the homily, Father Coy will perform the Mandatum:  He will re-present the Washing of the Apostles’ feet at that same Last Supper.

Why do we do this?  We do it to show how we are supposed to live out Christ’s commandment to “Love One Another”! 

We are used to shoes; we don’t really “get” what an act of humility this washing of feet was for Christ.  This was work usually reserved to servants; its purpose was to wash of all the dirt, and animal waste, and other assorted crud that gathered on the feet of folks who walked around all day on dirt roads they shared with animals!  Their feet didn’t just stink; they were filthy!

And yet, God Himself bent his knee to wash their feet!  And what did He tell them about it?  “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.”  Our love for one another, especially as leaders in the Church, should be expressed in humble service!

That’s why the pastor is washing feet!  Husbands, that’s why we should be washing our wives’ feet!  Parents…that’s why we should be washing our children’s feet!  To love as Christ loved, and to love as Christ commanded us to love, requires humility.  It requires sacrifice.  And it requires a willingness to die to self for those we love!

So…what are we doing here?  We are Remembering.  We are Re-presenting.  And we are celebrating the beginning of the actions of our Lord that ultimately saved us all.

Christ didn’t have to die for us…but He did.  Christ didn’t have to give us His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist…but He did.  And Christ didn’t have to wash his disciples’ feet.  But He did.  He did all of those things.  For us

You showed up tonight to begin the celebration.

Remember what you see.  Keep coming back.

Show Up to pray tomorrow morning while Christ is being beaten and abused.

Show Up at noon as he is crucified.  Come back at the Horu of mercy, 3:00, when he died.

And show up as we venerate His cross tomorrow evening, and recall the events of His passion and death.

And show up…when we celebrate His Victory.

Christ will be here.

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