“I have given you a model to follow”
Reflections on the readings for Holy Thursday – Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (April 18, 2019): EX 12:1-8,11-14; PS 116:12-13,15-16,17-18; 1COR 11:23-26; JN 13:1-15
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
At this celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper we revere several extraordinary events that took place at the Passover meal that Jesus and His Apostles shared.
Our Lord instituted two sacraments: the Eucharist and the Holy Orders. He gave final instructions to His disciples, reminding them that all who follow Him must love one another. And Jesus – teacher and master, Savior and Son of God – knelt before the Twelve and, like a servant, washed their feet. “Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that His hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved His own in the world and loved them to the end.… So during supper…He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet. And dry them with the towel around His waist.… So when He had… put His garments back on and reclined at table again, He said to them, ‘Do you realize what I have done for you?’” (John 13:1-2, 4-5, 12)
Just what had Jesus done for them? For us? He demonstrated in the clearest way possible that true faith is revealed by action. Our Lord did not merely talk about service; He served. And He wanted His followers to do the same. We cannot proclaim ourselves Catholics and Christians only because we say we believe in Jesus as our Redeemer. If we do not demonstrate our love for others just as Christ loves us, we are not really his disciples. He specifically said that He has given them a model for them to imitate – and it is not any easy one. Jesus left the Last Supper to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane where He would be arrested through the betrayal of Judas, one of the Twelve. Christ wants us to realize that living out our faith in His service demands sacrifice. He died for love of us. Some of those who embrace His way are called to lay down their lives in His name. All of us are asked to give ourselves to Jesus, to trust Him and to care for His people each day.