April 6, 2023

Holy Thursday

The people of Israel had walked enough.
As slaves, they had walked where their masters told them to walk.
Now they were tired,
and God was instructing them to get ready for another long walk,
as walk from slavery to freedom,
from bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land.
And it would all begin with a feast,
and with blood poured out and splattered on their doorposts.

The disciples had been walking a long time, too.
They had walked from Galilee to Jerusalem.
following the Lord Jesus wherever he was going.
And now their feet were tired.
So that when they sat down to celebrate a festive meal
with the Lord,
it felt good to be sitting on the floor for a while.

Their feet had been walking for a long time,
when he took off his outer garments,
wrapped a towel around his waist
and began to wash their feet.
It was a stunning gesture,
for normally it was the slave's responsibility to wash feet,
and here, the One whom they called Master was washing their feet.
And when he finished, he told them,
"As I have done for you, you should also do."

Tonight, we know what they did not,
we know that this will be his Last Supper with them
before he dies.
We know, both stories of what happened that night,
the one we heard from Paul in his letter to the Corinthians,
and the one we heard from John in tonight's gospel.
We know how he took bread and wine,
blest them and shared them with his disciples,
as well as how he washed their feet.
We know how he asked them and us
to do both of those things in his memory.

Tonight we wash feet,
we break bread and share a cup of wine,
and we encounter Christ in our midst,
both in bread and wine transformed into his Body and Blood,
and in the humble service of washing feet.
And while we may not literally wash feet,
we do offer humble service
in  memory of the One who did wash feet so long ago.

We wash feet whenever we reach out to someone in need,
especially if they don't ask for our help.
We wash feet when we clothe the naked,
feed the hungry, welcome the stranger,
visit the sick or those in prison.

We wash feet whenever we share our faith,
our hope or our love with another person.

There are so many ways in which we wash feet,
and there are also countless ways in which our feet have been washed.

Tonight, as we celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper,
we give thanks for the many times we have eaten his Body
and drank his Blood.
and we also give thanks for the many time our feet have been washed,
and the many times we have been privileged to wash the feet of someone else.

As we approach the table of the Lord tonight,
let us give thanks
for the gift of the Eucharist
and for the call to be of service,
both of which we celebrate tonight.