Holy Thursday Homily
Readings: Ex 12:1-8,11-4; 1 Cor 11:23-26; Jn 13:1-15
“I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, so you should also do.” Tonight we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist and the ministry through which the memorial of Christ is kept alive – the Priesthood. We celebrate the mystery of how we become “One Ohana” (family) in Christ through the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and in the sharing of His Body and Blood. In the Gospel of John however, the emphasis in tonight’s celebration is on the ministry that makes the Holy Eucharist possible under the image of Christ the “servant” who washes the feet of others.
Rather than present the institution of the Eucharist, St. John Evangelist gives a commentary on the Eucharist – The Holy Mass in the form of Christ’s foot washing. Tonight Jesus first gives his final testament, then rises and washes the feet of his disciples. He then concludes with “as I have done for you, so you should also do.” Jesus stoops down from the height of his divinity and serves his own creature. He asks us to stoop down as well. God comes to serve us, so we too may serve the least of society. Just as Christ becomes Food and Drink for us, we too become bread broken and wine poured out for others. Bishop Larry Silva in the short video before Mass helps us to see how we become food and drink for others. We do this by giving our time, talent and treasure: our energy, our love to those who count for nothing, those whose God-given dignity is still veiled, whose dignity is still hidden to the eyes of the world. We are called to reach out to the sick, the poor, the handicapped, the dying, the unborn, to those who are nobodies in the eyes of the world. So often, our society treats them as servants or slaves, as nothing. Our sharing in the Eucharist will be quite fruitless unless we become the bread broken and wine poured out for others. In so doing we become instruments that make possible.
Our Holy Father Pope Francis shows us what it means to stoop down like Christ. Last year, the Pope celebrated the Lord’s Supper at a Juvenile prison the Casal del Marmo outside Rome. In all humility, Pope Francis washed the feet of twelve of these neglected young people (boys and girls), who never dreamed of having any attention in the world. That is what our stewardship must do for the least – give them dignity, more humanity and hope in this world. “As I have done for you, so you should also do.” This sets the stage for the Rite of the Washing of the feet which is indeed a powerful metaphor for the servant Church founded by Christ and for our servant parish community here in Mililani. This is what we must do if we are to be bread broken and wine poured out for others, as we symbolically wash the feet of others. A faithful steward is one who gives time, talent and treasure in the service of others so that they may have life in abundance. How do you wash the feet of others? How do we as parish ohana (family) serve those in need in our midst?
©2014 John S. Mbinda