“This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the Lord as a perpetual institution” (Exodus 12:14).
What is the memory that makes for a perpetual institution? It is God’s memory; the 4500 year memory that caused the author of Exodus to write, the 2000 year memory of Paul who told us that Jesus took bread blessed and broke. It is our memory of encountering Christ in our daily living, the memory of God being made manifest at the Altar of Sacrifice, the very stone of Calvary.
We approach this sacred place, as we are ready to do this in memory. It is here on this sacrificial stone of Golgotha that alone God desires to meet us face to face. Tonight we enter the Upper Room as pilgrims with the Apostles to witness the priest breathe over the bread and wine, changing them into the Son of God and then sacrifice Him Whom we believe to be the true Bread from Heaven.
This Bread satisfies our hunger for love and quenches our thirst for truth. It challenges us to discover our desires in life and through remembering, discover the adventure of loving God. This Memorial Feast is the heart of our parish. It is here we enter a relationship with Jesus and through Him with the poor and with each other. It is a conversation of love between a Father and the Son, between a Father and His Children. We speak together from the heart, words that will ignite us to action!
It is on this Stone of Calvary that we ritualize with the emblem of the Last Supper the immense love God has for us, without any human agenda but only a warm embrace, a soft word and a tear shed. It is in Christ, dead and risen, and in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, given without measure, that we become active sharers of God’s innermost life.
The Eucharist is the fullest expression of God’s life. It transforms our souls with the Charity that led Jesus to climb Golgotha and die for our sins. If we respond to His love, if we let this divine sacrament purify our hearts of all pride, greed and worldly attachments, Christ will make us stronger and more determined to love Him. He will teach us to see into the depths of our brother’s heart, and understand with humility the sum of God’s self-effacing love.
The very act of consuming the Eucharist is Charity; Love in action- the true sign of service to the Church. The Washing of the Feet on this holy night embodies Christ’s charity before His Apostles and from them to you and me.
My dear friends let us with holy fear and with great adventure; be pilgrims, walking step by step with Jesus into the Paschal Mystery. Let us find in our walking God calling us to identify ourselves with the poor, the sick and the confused who are with Him in this Broken Bread.
By your love in action set fire to the world with a fresh light of hope and with a keen sense of mission. Go out from here rededicate yourselves to loving the least, finding the lost and confessing the Truth. Serve your enemies with particular joy. And remember! “I have given you a model to follow so that as I have done for you, you should do also” (John 13:15).