My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ!
As we begin our Paschal Triduum 2015, we gather to celebrate this evening Eucharist of the Lord’s Supper. Like the Twelve we surround our Master who gives us his Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine. St Paul’s First Letter to Corinthians we had as our second reading is oldest written testimony of that night meal from the Upper Room: “The Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for I and broke it, and he said: “This my Body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.” In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said: “This is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do his as a memorial of me.”
There are a couple of millennia between us and those first receivers of Paul’s Letter in the city of Corinth but the words of the Letter resonate in them and us in the same way. We see in them the compassionate heart of our Saviour who in the hour of darkness gave us, his Church, his most sacred Body and Blood. As we nourish ourselves with those precious gifts we dream to be like Jesus, to reflect his thinking in our thinking, to reflect his actions in our actions, to form our minds and hearts according to his mind and heart. As we celebrate this Lord’s Supper Mass I cannot get out of my head some other words Jesus spoke at the Last Supper: “I pray not only for them but for those who will believe because of their word so that they may be one as you Father and I are one.” That was his dream those first Apostles overheard as Christ prayed to his Father in heaven during the Last Supper. He knew the joy of being united and he wanted that joy to become reality in the community that was to be built upon the foundation of the Eucharist. That’s why he also instituted the priesthood of the New Covenant to preserve he unity if his Church. A priest is not ordained just for himself, for his own enjoyment but his is ordained to be at the service of unity. Standing on those steps to the Basilica I could tell that being called to the priesthood is to share in the sentiments of Jesus. I was heartbroken seeing in such a visible way the division of Christians. How powerfully the message of Jesus life, death and Resurrection would sound if we, all his followers, spoke in one voice.
In a few minutes the feet of 12 men will be washed here in the spirit of humility of the Lord: “If I then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet.” As we painfully acknowledge that as Christians we are still divided, which prevents us from celebrating one common Eucharist, we remind ourselves that unity is not going to be achieved without humility, and without love. In humility we need to stop feeling better or superior to other Christians. The truth we treasure in our Church is the call for humility because from those who received a lot a lot will be expected. Let’s also remember that at the Last Supper the Lord Jesus not only gave us the Eucharist and the priesthood he also gave us a new commandment; love one another as I have loved you.
Look how much reverence we give to Jesus’ Body and Blood but do we give the same profound reverence to the commandment of loving each other like Jesus? Let’s hope and pray that as we celebrate the Sacred Mysteries of the Eucharist so often, we may also grow in our reverence for his new commandment” Love one another as I have loved you.”
Then the day will come, when there is not only one Palm Sunday procession for various Christian denominations but there is one celebration of Eucharist as well.