HOLY THURSDAY 2019
Homily given by Deacon Steve Letourneaux
And God commanded the Israelites, as told in Exodus, to place the feast of the Passover first in their calendar. Celebrate yearly for generations to come. Little did they know that a 1000 years later, the blood of a different lamb, The Lamb of God, would bring a new and everlasting covenant. A covenant of salvation and forgiveness. A covenant freely chosen and freely given. But, we are a little ahead of ourselves as Jesus had more to teach us.
Over the years I have collected a lot of Bibles. One I like has the New Testament words of Jesus in red so it is easy to concentrate on Jesus’ words during the narration. Every one of us probably has their own favorite “Jesus quotes”. I asked Claire the other day “Do you have any favorite Jesus quotes”? Without hesitation, she said:
“DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME”
Let me reread what St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians:
“...the Lord Jesus, on the night He was handed over, took bread, and after He had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me’. In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this in remembrance of me.’”
THIS IS MY BODY! THIS IS MY BLOOD. I can’t prove it, I can’t explain it.
One of my favorite Jesus quotes may help...: “You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” My faith tells me it is as Jesus says.
As a Deacon I have the exceptional privilege of being close to the altar when Fr. Gary, takes bread, takes wine, as Jesus did, blesses them and says: This is my body given for you, this my blood shed for you.” I KNOW and FEEL the miracle that happens there.
Every time we receive Holy Communion and we say “Amen” (which means - I believe, it is so) let your faith tell you... THIS IS TOTALLY JESUS, His body and blood, His soul and divinity.
But this isn’t all Jesus did that night. Unexpectedly, He placed a towel around His waist and washed His disciples feet. Not surprisingly, Peter in his impetuous self spoke up and objected. Jesus has a very special way of putting us in our place, doesn’t He? Peter’s response...then wash all of me, Master!
Jesus finished saying : “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” 2000 years later, do we yet understand?
We do, if we believe the words of Jesus: - Matthew, Chap. 25: 35-36: Another of my favorite Jesus quotes: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me”.
Jesus said to the Apostles this night: “Do you realize what I have done for you?...I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
Holy Thursday, recalling the Last Supper, is not just a compelling story that ends tomorrow on the cross. What may appear to many as an end we know is truly a glorious beginning.