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.
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?