Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maundy Thursday 2011

Tonight we celebrate the Last Supper – the Lord’s Supper.

We celebrate the last meal Jesus took with his disciples, on the night before he was betrayed.

Imagine how strange that was – to celebrate Passover – the freedom from bondage of the people of God – knowing that he would himself soon be led as a lamb to the slaughterhouse – and like a sheep dumb before its shearer – knowing that silence was the best course to take – until at last, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

You have said so.

Before that, at the same meal when he blessed the bread and broke it, took the cup and shared it, he welcomed his friends as guests, as a servant would: he washed their feet.

It was a practical act, a gesture of hospitality – and a symbolic act, revealing his priesthood, and the role of the servant of all believers he invites us to share.

We celebrate and remember – thinking, we look after ourselves, and each other – we care – we act like family for each other, both good and bad.

In a spirit of kindness we convey, you matter, you are significant, you are welcome here – not on our own do we say this, we say it in Christ’s love shown for us.

That love is shown us, as an example, that we also should do as he has done – by serving each other and the world.

Tonight he gives us a new commandment – a mandate – hence the word ‘Maundy’ and the action holy – that we listen and heed and carry out his mandate – love one another.

Love one another just in this way: as he has loved us. And what is this way?

What but to come as servants? How we serve the world, how we serve Christ in each other and the world, is how we respond to Christ’s command.

Love one another – for sometimes love is all there is. Hope goes; faith fades; love remains.

When at the end of the meal the table is cleared, the lamp lowered and the candles snuffed, the last of the bread carried away, and the people dispersed, love remains.

Love abides in the Darkness – and soon will kindle new Light.

We leave tonight in solemnity – a procession with the host goes forth; some remain in silent contemplation, remembering – the meal and the man. Remembering his death and giving him glory.

Today I talked with people who know: every day of life is a gift. The gift of light and life and love – from the One who gave All for us – the light of the world, the love of God incarnate – in a human person, who, in these holy mysteries, of bread and wine made for us his body and blood – the One who gave us the gift of life and the promise of eternity – even in his very death. He truly died that we might truly live. Come let us adore him.


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