Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holy Thursday, C

Love: the thing that binds us 

John 13:1-15


Today is a very special day. We are recalling to mind the Last Supper.  But we also recalling to mind Bishop Mylo Vergara's ordination to the priesthood.  A warm round of applause for Bishop Mylo. Blessed be his priesthood!

We recall also in the Old Testament the story of the Passover, of the hand of God passing over the houses of the Israelites while killing the first born of the Egyptians in their homes, sparing no one, not even the son of the Pharaoh.

We also recall to mind three Christian realities - the institution of the Holy Eucharist, the gift of the  Priesthood, and Jesus' call to serve one another.

What is it that binds all these realities of faith?

First, Jesus wants us to remember.  ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’

Remember, remember!  Remember our first Holy Communion.  Remember  Jesus in the Last Supper.  Remember the saving works of God.  Indeed, let us remember how throughout our lives, God has not left us.

Second, Jesus wants us to see.  Behold!  "This is my body which will be given up for you" and "I am with you till the end of time."

See now, Jesus is here!  And Jesus will feed the deepest longing of the human heart as Bishop Barron said in the 51st IEC.

Jesus wants us to see him in his gifts like the priesthood.  In Cardinal Dolan's words, "Priests are close to Jesus.  According to Mother Teresa, they perform the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ."  Let us appreciate the healing a priest can do for us.

Finally, Jesus wants us to focus on doing something for others.  Abuja Archbishop John Cardinal Onaiyekan in his talk titled "The Eucharist and the Poor" said in serving the poor, "There should be action.  Do something!  Do not say the problem is too much... God is challenging us, "Do the little you can with the right spirit and God will do the rest."

For what binds all these realities we are celebrating is love.  Love is God's decision to free the Israelites and lead them to the promised land.  Love is Jesus' words to the apostles and to us: "Love one another as I have loved you."  Love is the underlying motive for bending over the wash each others' feet.  Love is God instituting the priesthood.  Loving is Hesed or mercy.  There are no explanations; we just do it, immediately, now.  A kind word or gesture, unplanned, but responding to the present moment, is a direct mirror of God's love for us.

Let us learn from the message of the washing of the feet.   Loving entails bending down and taking part in the healing of another. Let the love of Jesus be incarnated in us to satisfy the longing of every heart.

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