3/29/13

As I have done for you, so you should also do...

Servant Sculpture by Resclassic

Homily for Holy Thursday 2013
(Scriptures for tonight's liturgy)

Audio for homily


(The audio version above includes a portion of my homily
     not found in the text below.)

“As I have done for you, you should also do…”

Says the Lord...

Indeed, we’re going to do just that tonight.
We’re going to do just what Jesus did at the Last Supper
and asked us to do:
we’re going to wash one another’s feet.

But unless you’re a mom or a dad with children to bathe,
unless you care for those whose age or illness
prevents them from washing their own feet,
most of us won’t wash anyone’s feet until Holy Thursday next year.

But we’re not off the hook for a year.
We need to find other gestures, other ways,
to do as Jesus did.

The gospel tells us that Jesus removed his outer garments
and we need to take off the outer garments of pride’s finery,
of selfish entitlement, of our me-first mentality -
we need to take those garments off
as preparation for reaching out to serve other people.

And as Jesus wrapped a towel around himself
and do we need to gird ourselves with a towel of commitment:
Jesus isn't calling here for "random acts of kindness,"
he's calling us to lead a particular way of life.

Jesus washed feet that had walked through the dirt and dung and dust
of the streets of Jerusalem.
This wasn’t a matter of hanging up the apostles’ hats and coats
but it was doing something no one would want to do,
something usually reserved for the lowest class of slaves.

We need to find the courage, or better the love our hearts need
to reach out and do what might be the last thing we want to do
for those who are in need of our help.

Who in my life and in yours is so annoying, or so spiteful, or so difficult,
or so sick, or so unreasonable, or so ungrateful,
who in our lives is so -whatever-
that the last thing we find easy to do, the last thing we want to do,
is to become that person’s helper, aide, assistant
– that person’s servant.

And can we grapple with reality that Jesus wants to wash our feet?
That nothing about us, nothing about you and nothing about me,
puts Jesus off?
Nothing about us distances him from us.
Nothing about us is too annoying or ungrateful or sinful
such that it would keep him from kneeling down at our feet
to wash them with his grace and mercy?

Jesus said:
“As I have done for you, you should also do…”

And so we shall do tonight what he asked
but our symbolic act will be shallow indeed, even empty,
if we fail to pledge to find ways
tomorrow and next week and in the months ahead
to do for others what Jesus has done for us.

Tonight we remember that Jesus washed his friends’ feet
and invites us to find ways to do the same.
Tomorrow we will remember that he loved us, suffering and dying for us
and that he invites us to love one another with the same love.

Compared to the sacrifice of the of Calvary,
washing feet should seem simple,
and a good place for us to begin to prepare
to love one another has he loved us on the Cross.

The Eucharist we celebrate tonight is food for our souls,
his very Body and Blood given, broken and shed for us
that we might know his mercy,
that we might be forgiven,
that we might love and forgive as he did,
that as he has done for us,
we for one another might also do.


 

   
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