Saturday, April 29, 2017

Homily for Third Sunday of Easter Year A: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo (2017)

Homily for Third Sunday of Easter Year A: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo (2017)

·         Acts 2:14, 22-33;
·          Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-11;
·          1 Pet 1:17-21
·         Luke 24:13-35

Witnessing Scripture and Recognizing Christ on Our Paths of Life

The season and the joy of Easter are on!  As we rejoice along as an Easter Community or Easter people, when and where do we recognize or acknowledge the redeeming power of the Risen Christ in our lives?  Is it in our families, in the poor and in the needy? Or in our neighbors, in the songs we join to sing during worship? Or in the Eucharist we share, in the sermons we listen to, in our work we diligently do, or journeys, paths we walk. Or in our daily lives as a whole? Put simply, there are several opportunities, age, time, and moments available for us to witness the scripture, to encounter Christ. To recognize Christ in our paths of life, if I may borrow the words of the Psalmist (Ps 16:11a).

Scripture readings today, as a whole, and even all the post-Easter scriptures, both on weekdays and Sundays, already shared, speak to these questions of when, where and how do we encounter Christ and carry on to recount, or share our experiences of such encounter with our neighbors, rich or poor!
The Disciples of Christ including Peter, Mary Magdalene, Cleopas and his companion, the Eleven and those other women and mothers, witnessed scripture, recognized and acknowledged the truth of the redeeming effects of Christ’s resurrection in the empty tomb, in the multiplication of the bread (John 6), in the breaking of the break, in their fellowship, in their sufferings and in their breaking and sharing of the Word of God! They carried on, and recounted those recognitions and experiences with others!

In today’s 1st and 2nd readings (Acts 2:14, 22-33 1 Peter 1:17-21) Peter’s personal knowledge and experiences Christ speaks for itself. As his foremost disciples, Peter proclaims that, it was impossible for death to hold Christ spelt bound in the tomb because the Risen Christ’s events (birth, ministries of healing, forgiveness, charity, suffering, death and resurrection, ascension to God’s right hand in heaven) and its redeeming effects, were fore- planed by God his Father.
This foreknowledge and planning of Christ’s events; the the Son of David of Palm Sunday, were foretold by most of Israel’s prophets(cf. 1 &2 Chronicles, 2 Sam 7; and Ruth).  Therefore, our faith disposition, and hope in God’s saving power must be in the Risen Christ who walks with us on our paths. He is ever presence in our midst, where ever we are. We just have to learn to recognize him, to open our hearts for him. To allow his healing touch, his enlightenment his love to dwell in us.

In the Gospel reading (Luke 24:13-35) we find Jesus walking with his frustrated disciples Cleopas and his friend as they returned from Emmaus to Jerusalem. Their conversation on this journeys betrays their state of mind. They were not certain of the future. They were despondent. They were afraid. They were sad. They were doubtful of Christ as the savior of the world because of the events of the Good Friday. But the good news is that Christ was by their side. Are we not sometimes like Cleopas and his companion or wife, in matters of  our faith and Christianity beliefs?
In our doubts and challenges let us know that Christ is on our side. He walks with us in in our challenges, doubts and frustrations. In the case of Cleopas and his companion they had Jesus walking and talking with them unrecognized not until the breaking of the bread and lengthy explanation of the scripture.

This incidence  challenges us today to recognize that apart from those various other moments which I mention earlier, in this reflection, the Eucharist we daily share and the Bible Lessons (1st reading, 2nd reading, the Psalms and Gospels), we daily read, preach, share, recount, witness, interpret are great conduits, channels, and moments for us to encounter the Risen Christ and to recognize the Jesus of Easter.
Like Cleopas and his friend, daily meditation, scripture sharing, scripture witness, and reception of the Holy Eucharist enlightens us. It strengthens our faith in Christ and nourishes our love for one another. It affirms our hope in eternal life no matter how long the journeys! And assures us that Christ walks with us in every distances, paths and circumstances of life!

Reflection Questions:

1.    When, how and where do we recognize God’s love, his glory, his healing and redeeming effects, in our lives and how do we encourage others to do same, or recount to others our own experiences of Christ on our Emmaus’s?

2.    Can we relate to the experiences of Peter of today’s 1st and 2nd reading?

3.    What about the responsorial Psalm? Do you trust that God will continue to show us, or walk with us on the path of life?

4.    What about that of Cleopas and companion(their experiences and recounting) of the Emmaus’s Gospel reading? Can we relate to them?



Friday, April 21, 2017

Homily Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy) ABC: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo

Homily Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy) ABC:  Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo
·         Acts 2:42-47;
·         Ps 118:2-4,13-15,22-24;
·          1 Pet 1:3-9 (A);
·         Acts 4:32-35; 1 John 5:1-6 (B);
·          Acts 5:12-16; Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13,17-19 (C)
·         John 20:19-31(ABC)
Bearing Witness to Divine Mercy!
Happy Easter to you all! Last Sunday we joyfully celebrated Easter Sunday. It was a special day the Lord had made for us as individuals and as a Church. The joy of that day, of the mystery of Christ’s ministerial life of mercy, compassion, healing, forgiveness, death and resurrection, continues in our hearts, homes, families, work places, churches, parishes, dioceses, for almost seven weeks, 50 days, until the Pentecost!
The more reason, the Church, during the papacy of Saint John Paul II, and since April of the year 2000, has combined the joy of the Easter celebration with the acknowledgement of the true nature of God.  What is this nature of God? Or of his Son, the Jesus of Easter? Answers to this question is rooted in many places in  the scripture, OT and NT. The nature of the Jesus of Easter is mercy. He is merciful. He is righteous. He is just. He is kind. He is forgiving. He is slow to anger and bounding in love (Exod 34:5-7; Micah 7:18-20).  The more reason he went through the events of that Palm Sunday and Good Friday on our behalf.  To wash away our sins. He went to the Cross on our behalf and teaches us how to endure, like the Suffering Servants of 2nd Isaiah. He teaches us how to hope, how to forgive, and how to bear witness to divine mercy. This is the vision and the nature of God that Sister Faustina, a Polish Saint, also experienced and witnessed, whose shrine I visited with pilgrims in 2015.
In fact, the opening prayer of this Mass sets the tone for the joy of this day, and invites us to imitate Sister Faustina in bearing witness to Divine Mercy. It says,
“God of everlasting mercy, who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast, kindle the faith of the people you have made your own, increase, we pray, the grace  you have bestowed, that all may grasp and rightly understand, in what font they have been washed, by whose Spirit they have been reborn, by whose blood they have been redeemed.”
Today’s bible readings also fit this theme “Bearing Witness to Divine Mercy.” It is the Spirit of the Lord that enables the early Christian community of the 1st reading, Acts of the Apostles to abandon their egos and selfishness and live, pray together, and share meals together, be forgiving to one another and be generous to one another as Christ had taught them. With all the homilies we have preached and heard, with all the sacraments we have celebrated, with all the catechism and bible classes we have taught and attended since our baptism, how many of us today, are willing to share our bread and possession with the poor,- that has remained the center- peace of Pope Francis’ ministry? This is Divine Mercy. How many are willing to bear witness to Divine Mercy?
The entire event of Christ, his life, dead and resurrection are an events of Divine Mercy. Peter in the 2nd also captures this so well, when he says, “Blessed be the God and Father our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy (note that, who in his great mercy) gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefined, and unfading” (1 Peter 1:3-9)
God’s mercy, from the beginning to the end; from creation to the resurrection, is the source of our salvation. What can we do without the mercy of God through the Christ of Easter?
Today’s Gospel of John is a teaching Gospel about Divine mercy.. It intensifies Divine Mercy of God in action. Christ mercifully appears to the disillusioned disciples, the first time, after his resurrection. He encourages them. He brings them peace and joy and wishes them well. He breathed his spirit of mercy, love, kindness and compassion on them saying, “whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
In other words, inviting them to bear witness to Divine Mercy. He further sets an example by forgiving the doubting Thomas of his unbelief, doubts and skepticism. And reminds us that none of our weaknesses, doubts, frailties, and faithlessness are too difficult for God to forgive- provided we are willing to say like Thomas “My Lord and my God.” He also reminds us that none of our neighbors’, spouses’ friends’ weaknesses is too difficult to forgive provided we allow the Spirit of the Lord to dwell in us, to work in us, to take effect in us.
Today’s celebration challenges us to listen to Pope Francis. It challenges us share our bread possessions with our neighbors. It challenges us not to be too harsh even on ourselves. It challenges us to appreciate the sacrament of penance. It challenges us to bear witness to divine mercy. To love one another. To show mercy, spiritually and corporally to those we encounter each day, especially the poor, the needy and to those in prisons.
Reflection Questions:
1.    In the light of today’s bible readings, who is God or the Jesus of Easter for you?
2.    How do you share God’s grace and mercy with members of your faith community of neighbors?
3.    Can you relate to Thomas of today’s Gospel?
4.    With all the homilies we have preached and heard, with all the sacraments we have celebrated, with all the catechism and Bible classes we have taught and attended since our baptism, how many of us today, are willing to share our bread and possession with the poor?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Homily for Easter Sunday Year ABC: Michael Ufok Udoekpo

Homily for Easter Sunday Year ABC: Michael Ufok Udoekpo

·         Acts 10:34a, 37-43;

·         Ps 118:1-2, 16-17,22-23;

·         Col 3:1-4 or 1 Cor 5:6b-8;

·         Matt 28:1-9;Mark16:1-8;Luke24:13-35;John20:1-9

  By His Resurrection He opens for us the way to a New Life!

As the Psalmist would put it, “this is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps 118:24). Let us sing Alleluia for the Lord has risen! Before the joy of the risen Lord today, and over the Triduum, you and I travelled a long way of the events of the Holy Thursday and Good Friday. By Christ’s death on that Good Friday, he liberates us from sin. By his resurrection today, Christ guarantees us eternal life. He opens for us the way to new life of grace and freedom (CCC 654). The new yeast and a fresh batch of dough that Paul speaks of in the 2nd reading (1Cor 5:6b-8). He transforms us from all forms of darkness (social, economic, religious, and cultural) to a light of peace, joy and justice. From the feeling of rejection, mockery, intimidation, Pilate’s colonialism, abuse, oppression, bullying, false accusations of  the Good Friday, seeming defeat or despair to hope. From that which is below to that which is above in Christ (Col 3:1-4).

What would Christianity have been without the truth of the resurrection? If everything ended on Palm Sunday, or on Good Friday, during the celebration of our Lord’s Passion, or during the Stations of the Cross, or with the five sorrowful mysteries, without the joyful and glorious ones, or, without the victory of Christ over death, St. Paul in 1 Corinthian 15:14-17 says, our today’s gathering would  be meaningless. Our preaching, our songs and hymns would be useless. Our faith would be in vain. We would be like a sheep without a shepherd. If everything ended with the red vestment of Good Friday, there wouldn’t have been the golden and white vestment we wear today. If everything ended with the bare and undecorated altar of Good Friday, there wouldn’t have been this beautifully decorated altar; the joyful song Gloria, the ringing of the bell, and all that they stand for.
Thanks be to God Our Lord has been raised from the dead. This is the event that Peter, the foremost of Christ’s disciples bears  personal witness to in  today's 1st reading (Acts 10:34a, 37-43). Peter encourages us to do the same in our families, in our communities, in our neighborhood, in our parishes and in our dioceses. Peter unequivocally, says,

“You know what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good, and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on the tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible... to us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead….. He commissions us to preach…. To him all the prophet bear witness.”
Apart from Peter and Paul, all the Four Evangelists (Matthew 28;, Mark 16 Luke 24 and John 20-21) all bear strong witness to the resurrection. In today’s gospel (John 20:1-9) Mary Magdalene filled with great love for Christ came to empty tomb of the risen Jesus on the first day of the week when it was still dark. She found the stone rolled away.  Like the Samaritan women in John 4, she reacted very quickly by running back to inform Peter and the other Disciples, setting the tone for how we celebrate today, and how we react when we encounter Christ in our family members, in the songs we sing, in the Eucharist we share in the poor and the immigrant we reach out to.

What also interest me in the Gospel is how Mary of Magdala who by saying to Peter, “they have taken the Lord from the tomb and we don’t know where they have put him,” thought the body of Christ was stolen, would eventually come to faith in the resurrection. Even the once “denying Peter” who was once running away from the trial scene of Jesus, is now a transformed Peter. A new Peter. With Mary’s news he is running to the tomb. Though the other disciple is the first to arrive. Peter is the first to embrace the burial cloth in the empty tomb of Jesus.
Where are you running to or from, on this Easter Sunday? From belief to unbelief or from unbelief to belief in the truth of the resurrection? What do you do with the news of the resurrection? What does the empty tomb say to you? Are you Peter, Paul, or Mary Magdalene in these testimony episodes of the resurrection?

 Mary Magdalene could be seen as disciple who not only genuinely loved and searched for Jesus. She was attached to Jesus. Remember she knew him as the truth, the light, the way, the bread of life and the source of eternal salvation. Like Mary we are called not only to believe but to bear witnesses to our faith where ever we find ourselves each day with new zeal, joy an energy. Peter had once stumbled but he made it to sainthood.
That you are sick today does not mean that you cannot get well tomorrow. That you have been laid off from a particular job does not mean that all labor doors are closed against you. That you have once in your life doubted the Resurrection or any aspect of our faith or stumble like Peter does not mean you cannot turn things around. There is always a change from below to above where Christ is. From Good Friday to Easter and from sorrow to joy!

 As we rejoice today may our faith be strengthened by the transforming power of Christ's Resurrection and be reassured by his resurrection he opens for us the way to a new life!

Reflection questions:

1.    What does the resurrection of Christ mean for you? How do you share this with members of your faith community?

2.    Like Christ’s disciples, where are running to on this Easter Sunday after you encounter with the empty tomb?

3.    What does the empty tomb say to you newly? Are you Peter, Paul, or Mary Magdalene in these testimony episodes of the resurrection?

Homily Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil Year ABC): Fr. Michael UfokUdoekpo

Homily Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil Year ABC): Fr. Michael UfokUdoekpo

 ·         (1)Gen1:1–2:2 or 1:1,26-31a; Ps 104:1-2,5-6,10-14,24,35or Ps 33:4-7,12-13,20-22;
·         (2) Gen 22:1-18 or22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Ps 16:5, 8, 9-11
·         (3) Exod 14:15–15:1; Ps Exod 15:1-6, 17-18;
·         (4) Isa 54:5-14;Ps 30:2,4-6,11-13;
·         (5) Isa55:1-11; Ps 12:2-3,4-6;
·         (6) Bar 3:9-15,32–4:4; Ps 19:8-11;
·         (7)Ezek 36:16-17a, 18-28;Ps[a] 42:3,5;43:3-4;[b] Isa 12:2-3,4bcd,5-6[c]Ps 51:12-13,14-15,18-19;
·         (8) Rom 6:3-11; Ps 118:1-2,16-17,22-23;
·         (9)Gospel [Year a] Matt 28:1-10; [Year b] Mark 16:1-7; [Year c] Luke 24:1-12.

  Joy in the Risen Lord!

 In tonight’s liturgy the Church assembles around the tomb of Jesus with songs, prayers, and scripture sharing while awaiting his resurrection. Even though the gathering is a bit long, it is a 4 level joyful celebration of: the joyful song of exulted with lighted candles symbolism Christ as the light of the world, the liturgy of the word, baptism and renewal of promises. Finally, of the Holy Eucharist.

 Through the scripture we share again and relive through the history of our salvation, the covenant, beginning from creation, through Abraham to events of Christ, particularly his resurrection from the dead, which we gather tonight to celebrate!

Wonderful and spiritually rich scripture passages. In Genesis creation stories and in the Psalms God creates lovingly, he orders, he gives names, he shows mercy, he is kind, and he also forgives. In spite of the generation of our first parents, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah God calls and establishes a covenant with Abraham, who in scriptures tonight, is also willing to sacrifice, go through trials and  give back to God all that God had given him, including his only son Isaac (Gen 22:1-18). What are you willing to give back to God to make your relationship with God work? Faith, hope, love, faithfulness, charity to the poor and the needy or sharing the faith story to others?

 Israel’s story is our story. Through these stories we are reminded that our lives, Israel’s lives belong to God. He alone can use can write even on a crooked line! This is true in the events of their various exiles. God alone can hardens Pharaoh’s heart and works through the signs of he10 plagues, uses Assyria and the Babylonians as his instruments. God  judges, punishes, rewards, exhorts, in order to save Israel, as expressed in various prophecies and prophetic passages read tonight, particularly the prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel and Baruch.

 What Israel’s prophets long foretold: life, hope, freedom, salvation, new life is fulfilled tonight in the resurrection of Christ, witnessed by Paul in Roman 6:3-11. Instructing his Roman Community Paul says, “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ (as will be done tonight) were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.”

 The baptismal rites and renewal which we celebrate tonight speaks to this Pauline passage and points to the tomb and resurrection of Christ which we awaits this holy night. It is night we lay down our fears, sorrows, uncertainties, frustrations and anxieties of the Good Friday,  at the empty tomb and go out to spread the joy of the glorious resurrection.

Imagine what the initial experience of the empty tomb must have been like for the early Apostles. I guess, refreshing and amazing to those women, particularly to Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James and to others who accompanied them. It must have been amazing to Peter and to the rest of the eleven as well.

 If you were there in the early days what would it feel like? How do you feel tonight? An amazing God! With the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, everything is possible! Creation is possible. The orderliness of creation is possible. The hardening of pharaoh’s heart is possible. The Crossing of the red sea without been hurt is possible. Raising Jesus from the tomb is possible. Healing is possible! Success in life is possible! Passing that examination is possible. True reconciliation is possible! Transformation is possible!

 For those corrupt capitals good socio-political structure is possible! Reaching out to the poor, the aged, and the needy, as stressed by Pope Francis, more than before is possible! Justice is possible!

 As we gather around Christ’s empty tomb this holy night may we be reassured of the hope, the transformation, and the new life that the light of the resurrection of Christ brings us.  May we be reassured of his presence in our homes, families, churches, offices, journeys, and work places?  As we pray for our brothers and sisters, victims of terrorism d around the globe, may we continue to trust in his protective care? May we as baptized and believers be joyful and be reassured of eternal life in heaven after our pilgrimage here on earth!

Reflection Questions:

1.    What gives you joy!

2.    What aspect of today’s scripture reading or levels of celebration impact you most?

3.    What is the meaning of the resurrection for you and how do you share this with member of your faith community?



Friday, April 14, 2017

Homily for Good Friday Year ABC: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo

Homily for Good Friday Year ABC: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo

·         Isa 52: 13-53:12;Ps 31:2,6,12-13,15-17,25

·         Heb 4:14-16;5:7-9;John 18:1-19:42

The Glory of the Cross and the Goodness of Good the Friday!

On Palm Sunday we witnessed Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. That triumphant journey culminates in today’s events: the glory of the cross and the goodness of Good Friday. This makes us wonder what is really glorious, good, or redemptive about the cross we venerate on Good Friday!{goodness...}
Or, what is really good about Good Friday? What is good about the red vestment priest wear today? What is good about our altars left bare today, undecorated? I guess it’s the love that Christ loved us to the end, no matter the affliction; those sufferings and mockeries he endured on the stations of cross- since God his Father watches over him.

He said many prayers from that cross. One of them is "into your hands Lord I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). We see the goodness of Good Friday in this prayer. In it Christ teaches us how to rely totally on God in moments of trials. God can always, ironically turn things around in our lives no matter how worst we might think our condition is.
The goodness of Good Friday ( the sorrowful mysteries) is also revealed in the 1st reading (Isa 52:13-53:12), the 4th Song of the Suffering Servant of God. Even though the servant was spurned, beaten, insulted, rejected he did not open his mouth. It was our infirmities and sufferings that he endured. He was pierced for our offenses and crushed for our sins. On Good Friday Christ takes away our sins!

The preacher in the  2nd reading, the Letter to the Hebrews, is aware of this when he preaches “in the days when Christ was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death. Prayers like Psalm 22 " My God my God why have you abandon me." Prayers like today's responsorial Psalm 31 "into your hands Lord, I commend my spirit." And he was heard because of his reverence. Son though he was he learned obedience from what he suffered, and when he was made perfect, when he was raised from the dead, he became source of eternal salvation.

This is why Good Friday is good. In SalusCruce (In the cross we venerate today is our salvation- cf. lives of the saints). On the cross Christ teaches us how to love,. On the cross Christ teaches us  how to hope. On the cross Christ teaches us  how to endure our personal crosses (poverty, loneliness, illnesses ,loss of our loved ones, etc.),. On the cross Christ teaches us how to forgive and how to take charge in whatever we do  to the end- be it in our marriages, family responsibilities, our studies, work, priestly or religious life. We are to take charge and endure to the end, as exemplified in John's passion narrative.

In that long passion narrative from the Gospel of John, which is full of irony, Jesus is in charge. Jesus is in control. He is in the driver's seat. He tells Judas Iscariot to do quickly what he came to do. He makes it clear to Pilate that he has no authority over him. And finally Jesus dies kingly and triumphantly. On his cross is inscribed in different languages(Hebrew, Greek and Latin), "Jesus the King of the Jews," to make today a universal and salvific Good Friday. And Christ the savior of the world!
 As a believer, faithlessness, hatred, despair, violent, mockery, insult, jealousy, attitude of indifference in the face of injustice, neglect of the poor should not have authority over us. But rather, love, faith, hope, justice and endurance that Christ has taught us today, in the face of our life’s challenges and vicissitudes.

Reflection Questions

1.    What would you identify as your crosses and how do you handle them in the light of today’s readings?

2.    How do you feel when you are unjustly or falsely accused in the light of the suffering servant of YHWH of today’s readings

3.    What does the crucifixes in your homes or churches reminds you of?

4.    What do you say to a member of you faith community that has just been mocked, betrayed and unjustly violated?

5.    Christ bore our sorrows and sins. In what ways have you bore the pains of your next door neighbor, or family member?




Homily Mass of the Last Super Year ABC: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo

Homily Mass of the Last Super Year ABC: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo

·         Exod 12:1-8, 11-14;

·          Ps 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18;

·         1 Cor 11:23-26

·         John 13:1-15

 Christ, Eucharist, Love and Service (CELS)

 As highlighted in the scripture, tonight we celebrate three significant gifts:  the gifts of the Lord’s Super/the Holy Eucharist, the gift of the priesthood and the gift of Christ’s redeeming love and service to one another, to the extent of washing  their feet.  These three gifts of course, are interconnected!

First of all, the gift of the Holy Eucharist of which institution we reenact today is nothing else, but a banquet of love, a shared meal of gratitude and service.  In today’s Gospel, it was within this context of the shared meal, the new Passover, that Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, teaching us to do the same to one another.

 Of course this tradition of washing someone’s’ feet enacted by Christ in today’s Gospel is also found in Genesis 18 when Abraham the father of our faith washes the feet of his visitors in Mamre. It is one of the most symbolic and humble services to one another that one could think of.

In the second reading Paul is aware of Jesus’s traditions of love, unity of service, of the new Passover which is unconnected with providing for the poor and the needy. Addressing as seemingly divided and quarrelling the Corinthian Community he says,

 “ I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took break, and after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “this is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” With the cup Christ said, “this is cup is the new Covenant in my blood, do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me (1 Cor 11:23-26).”

 The Eucharis is nothing else, but the cup unity and the bread of life.  By washing the feet of his disciple within the context of the Eucharist Jesus shows the depth of his love, a love leading to the cross. He teaches his disciples, and all of us today, especially in a divided and broken world a new way of sacrificial Love, a new way of service and friendship. Not a new way of “eye service.” He teaches us a new way of self-transcendence not a new way of self- aggrandizement. He teaches us a new way to serve not a new way to be served; a new way of humble friendship with all including the poor, the prisoners and the marginalized. 

 By washing his disciples feet Jesus overcome by love the inequality that existed by nature between himself and those whom he had chosen as friends. I always believe that how we treat one another publicly or in private is the true measure of the condition of our interior life, especially of our life of prayer.

 As we celebrate this Last Super, sharing in the bread and wine of the new covenant of love, gratitude and selfless service- Christ, and ready to adore him at that Altar of Repose in that garden, let us know that Christ sees us, he loves us and recognizes us. He sees the rich, the poor and the downtrodden.  Let us know that having been washed clean, we have been given the spiritual capacity and blessed with the divine strength of his examples (John 13:12-15) to joyfully love and gratefully serve one another as Christ has first loved and served us. To wash one another’s feet as he has first washed us.

Reflection Questions:

1.    Could you think of the times you have gone out of your way to serve your neighbor, visitors, strangers, or to wash his or her feet?

2.    When you receive the Eucharist do you have a sense of spiritual communion with Christ and members of your faith community?

3.    How often do you try to explain the meaning of the Holy Eucharist and its relationship with love and service to members of family and faith community?