Homily For Holy Thursday (The Lord’s Supper), Year B

Emulating Christ’s Spirit of Humility and Service

Rdgs: (1st: Ex 12, 1-8; Ps 115; 2nd: 1Cor, 11, 23-26: Gos: Jn 13, 1-15)

           This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

 Holy Thursday is both the day of the institution of the Holy Eucharist and our birthday as both sacramental and ministerial Priests. So, I will like to begin this brief reflection by congratulating all of us, the faithful.  It is a day of rededicating and re-consecrating ourselves in humility as Christ did by washing the feet of his disciples and feeding them. It is a day of re-presenting ourselves for service and mission in God’s vineyard and towards our brothers and sisters.

Today the Church celebrates the wonderful gift of God to her and the entire world – the institution of the Holy Eucharist or, the Mass. The Eucharist is the food that God has generously and providentially made available to us in order to nourish us on our spiritual journey. According to Pope Francis, “The Eucharist is not just a weekly way of celebrating our faith, but should radically affect our relationship with others, especially with those most in need.” The Eucharist gives us the grace to feel forgiven and be ready to forgive others. We go to Mass, not because we are worthy or want to appear better than others. Rather, it is because we know that we are always in need of God’s love, grace, and mercy that come to us through the body and blood of Christ. This is also, because the Eucharist affects the life of our Christian communities. So, it is from the Eucharist that we as a Church receive our identity and mission.

The institution of the Holy Eucharist by Christ on Holy Thursday equally marks the institution of the ministerial priesthood. So, the priesthood is both God’s gift and a mystery. Gifts are free offers made to one who is willing to accept or reject them. Thus, by describing priesthood as a gift, it simply means that God is the one who freely calls and, decides who to call. The mystical nature of the priesthood derives first, from the lives of Melchizedek and Christ, the high priests. This mystical nature also comes to its full at the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday and at every Mass. That is, the consecration of bread and wine, which is transformed into the real body and blood of Christ. Who then is the priest? He is the defender of the truth, who stands with the angels, gives glory with archangels, causes sacrifices to rise to the altar on high, shares Christ’s priesthood, refashions creation, and restores it in God’s image.

Finally, today we must emulate the Humility of Jesus. In today’s Gospel, he chose to wash the feet of his disciples. He also feed them not only with physical food but also, with spiritual food. This is in order to show and teach us that we must be ready to serve our brothers and sisters. Instead of struggling to be the leader and the chief at all times, let us like Jesus, aspire to be the servant of others. The joy of working in the vineyard of the lord comes mostly from serving others, rather than from being served. However, this is possible only through a humble heart prepared for service. Once again, congratulations to all of us the faithful of God, who love Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and who love his Priests.

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!!

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