Gospel Reflection for Holy Thursday Thursday, April 1st – Holy Week 2021
Jesus shows us how to serve and love each other
This evening we celebrate Holy Thursday. We recall the final meal that Jesus had with his friends before his crucifixion. This is implied rather than explicitly mentioned; there is no actual breaking of bread and pouring of wine in John’s gospel. What we do have is Jesus washing his friend’s feet. We all have our idea of what power is and what it can do. It could be political, financial or military power. It might be the power we believe we have to control others. Jesus offers us a radically different sort of power these three days. Divine power is the power to love, serve and forgive without limit. This night at the meal, Jesus will wash dirty feet. Before Jesus will be lifted up on the cross, he bends low and takes the place of the slave; he comes to serve, not to be served. This is real power.
Normally on Holy Thursday in church we re-enact Jesus washing his friend’s feet. This is not just a nice romantic thing to do as some sort of drama, but ideally should encourage and challenge us to serve love and serve each as Jesus as shown us. As he says to us in the gospel; I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’
When we celebrate the Eucharist together, we hear the words; ‘Do this is memory of me.’ do what exactly? Yes, gather to pray and share Body and Blood of Jesus. But Jesus asks so much more from us. When we celebrate the Eucharist, we are also given the mission and the responsibility of sharing in the mission of Jesus as we serve and love each other. How do we do this? Think of the amazing things we have seen and experienced over the last year. Doctors and nurses who are working tirelessly and selflessly caring for those with Covid 19, often putting themselves at risk. Think of the many people and groups who set up food and clothes banks to help those most in need. We think of scientists who are working so fast to create vaccines. We think of teachers working with vulnerable children when schools were closed. We think of staff in nursing homes caring for elderly and the many parents who became teachers as they ‘homeschooled’ their children. Dining tables became desks and kitchens became classrooms. These and so many others acts of selfless generosity are all very real examples of loving and serving others. This is what scriptures means when it tells us; our love for each other must be not just words or mere talk, but something alive and active. (1 Jn.3.18.)
The challenge of celebrating the Eucharist and Holy Thursday is to live out the example of Jesus in our daily lives. As mass ends we hear these words; let us go now to love and serve the Lord.’ Again, how do we do this? By loving and serving each other. Having shared in the Body and Blood of Jesus, we are not just leaving the church; we are being sent by Jesus himself. He asks to love each other as he loves us. Love is not simply an emotion or feeling; it is a decision. Our love for each other calls to be seen and experienced practically and expressed through the quality and actions of our daily lives. As we share in the Body and Blood of Jesus, we do so in memory of him. When we love and serve each others, we do the same; we do it in memory of Jesus. We are following his example in our daily lives.
Today, pray in thankfulness for those who love and serve you; those who ‘wash your feet.’ Who can I love and serve in some small way over the next few days?
– Br Michael Moore OMI
|Gospel||John 13:1-15 ©|
Now he showed how perfect his love was
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