LOVE MANDATE, EUCHARIST, PRIESTHOOD
Today the church commemorates a triple celebration: the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the sacramental priesthood and the New Commandment of love as seen in Jesus’ own example of washing the feet of the disciples. Has the Eucharist brought any newness into our lives? What is new about the love-commandment of the Lord?
And tonight, on Holy Thursday, he gave us three great gifts that would extend his Passion, the proof of his love, throughout all of history.
· He gave us the EUCHARIST – his real presence nourishing us in every Tabernacle and every Holy Communion.
· He gave us the COMMANDMENT OF TRUE LOVE, so we would know how to love truly: by serving others.
· He gave us the PRIESTHOOD – a sacramental multiplication through all time and space of his own merciful, wise, and healing love.
Through these tremendous, eternal gifts, God redeems us, meeting the two deepest needs of every human heart
Every human being has two needs that are deeper than any other. We need to be loved, and we need to love. This is because we are created in God’s image, and God is love. Jesus knew that we needed these two things. Through his suffering and death, his Passion, he gave us love.
Being Christian means more than just being nice.
Being a Christian means more than just being nice. It means centring our whole lives, every last detail, on a person: Jesus Christ. It means we have to be people who centre our lives on love. Other great religious leaders of history pointed to their teaching. They said, “Follow my teaching”. Jesus pointed to himself. He said, “Follow me.”
Jesus is making it forever clear that the way of Christ is a way of self-giving, not selfishness. Jesus never sought to get, but only to give. His followers are to do the same. That in itself goes far beyond simply being nice.
WASHING OF FEET.
Only those who have first allowed Jesus to wash their own feet can then offer this service to others. Only they have “a part” with him (Jn 13:8) and thus can serve others.
That is why, it is not just about loving one another, but loving like Christ loves us.
The Message of the Eucharist
The Eucharist is one of many proofs that being a Christian means much more than just being nice. In the Eucharist Jesus Christ gives himself completely and unreservedly to each one of us. He comes into our lives! And when we receive him, we commit our lives to him.
Making the Eucharist Our Focal Point
Today, the Lord is inviting us to renew our commitment to follow this path of self-forgetful love. I think we all want to say yes to that invitation. We want to make following Christ the central project of our lives.
And there is no better way to do this than by making Christ in the Eucharist the central focal point of our lives. There we can learn to love as Christ loves. There we can find the strength to put that lesson into action, because there Christ himself speaks to our hearts and strengthens our souls.
Making the Eucharist the focal point of our lives doesn’t mean spending all of our time here in Church, though God does call some people to dedicate their lives in such a way.
But for most of us, it means simple things,
· Like receiving Communion regularly and worthily, going to confession when needed.
· It means trying to get to Mass more than just on Sundays.
· It means including Mass and Holy Communion in birthday and anniversary celebrations and other special occasions.
· It means carving a few minutes out of our busy schedules to come and sit with the Lord, to drop by the Tabernacle, where Jesus is always waiting for us.
As we receive the Lord now in Holy Communion, let’s thank him for all he has done for us, and let’s renew our commitment to strive to be his true followers, radiating Christ-like love in everything we do.
Today is also a perfect moment to reflect on the Priesthood.
The priest is called Alter Christus. He is another Christ and is called to bring Christ to the world. Hence he is called to reproduce within himself the Personality and the Character of Christ. So that all those who see him are able to see and to experience Christ himself.
The priestly dignity is great, but greater also is the burden that comes with this dignity. We are men, and we remain men, but it is in this human state that the priest is called on to excel. And what helps us to live up the dignity of being Priests is the words of God to each one of us, “You have not chosen me. I have chosen you.” John 15:16.
Priesthood then is a call, a vocation, a summons. But it is not a part-time job. You are a priest all the time. There is no moment when you are off-duty. The priest is priest, 24/7. We have to be available, accessible, and ready to face misunderstanding and ingratitude. And of course, our vocation is not a personal privilege, but is a religious and social responsibility.
And hence, DEAR PEOPLE OF GOD.
The Priest is another Christ – Respect him.
He is God’s Representative – Trust hm.
He is at your service – Be thankful to him
AT THE ALTAR OF GOD *He offers your prayers to God – Don’t forget to pray for him
He prays for you and your people- Ask for God’s mercy for him.
IN DAILY LIFE He is Human – do not condemn him, understand him.
He is Human – a word of kindness will cheer him up.
He is Human – have patience and appreciate him.
If you have to point out his faults, tell him, but don’t forget to tell them to God, so that God may give him light and strength to accept his failings and correct them. Pray that he may be able to overcome these faults.
Do not make him and his faults the topic of grumbling and parish gossip. Ask God to Guide him, to protect him and to Be Merciful to him in death.
As Priests we have a great responsibility. Pray my dear people that I and all priests may always be
· Open to God’s guidance and protection.
· Docile to his admonitions and reminders.
· Merciful and loving to others as he has been merciful and loving to us
Fr. Franco Pereira, S.D.B.