Holy Thursday, Lord's Supper
Deacon Thomas Winninger, CSMA
Ex. 12:1-8, 11-14, 1 Cor. 11:23-26, John 13:1-15

Do you realize what I have done for you?

You will not wash my feet. I will wash your feet but you will not wash my feet. "But Peter if you do not let me wash your feet then there is no place in heaven for you." "Lord then wash all of me." Peter is definitely an all or nothing kind of guy. With this simple act of washing feet we begin the Triduum, the celebration of the paschal mystery of Christ, the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord. This is the mission of his life on earth, the reason he took on human nature was to die for us to save us from our sins and reconcile us to the Father. It was not about the miracles he performed, it was not about him being raised from the dead. It was not about all the banquets he attended with his sinful disciples to demonstrate that he came for the poor in spirit. His true mission is signified in this the longest liturgy we will experience in our Catholic Faith.

So now you look at your watch to check the time in hopes that I do not run for hours. I'm not talking about how long we will be together tonight. I'm talking about the three days of the Triduum note that it is seventy-two hours. From now to Easter Sunday is one liturgy with three parts. It began tonight when Father Griffith declared, "In the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". And it will end with "Go in peace to serve the Lord" at the end of Mass on Easter. You see there will be no close tonight; we will quietly leave this the Lord's Supper to enter the garden of Gethsemane where the divine and human natures of Christ will demonstrate the tension of commitment, "Father, if this cup cannot pass from me, thy will be done."

Unfortunately, many think that this is a simple remembrance of the last supper our Lord celebrated with his disciples. But if one considers that the Lord is divine and with the divine there is no time, then we are all there in the upper room. We are all experiencing in the moment, the act of love in washing of the feet, the first communion with the consecration of the bread and wine, and the institution of the priesthood.

The theme of the readings is total love. The Last Supper is a demonstration of total love. Just as with the washing of the feet, love to be whole must be given and received. That is the point Jesus was making to Peter. We are not whole without giving love and accepting love. Jesus indicated to Peter if he cannot accept the love of this act then he will not be with the Lord in paradise. This sets the tone for the whole Triduum and gives us all the call for our personal commitment to walk the way of the cross: a total act of love. But you say, "I do not refuse the love of Christ in my life!" Really, so you accept everything that Jesus sends your way. WOW, I will confess that I fail at that on many occasions. I have been known to reject his gifts because I could wash my own feet, I could set my own path and accomplish my own goals. Sometimes I have missed him because I was just too busy. You see what the Lord was saying to Peter, "I give you everything, all you need to do is surrender to what I am doing for you. I am going to die for you. What greater love can one have for another?"

So, what are we called to do as a result of this experience? Commit during the next three days to the absolute nature of love. That is love without judgment, that is love without expectations, that is love of giving of self not just of words. Is this really the love Jesus is calling us to, if it is only words, and not actions? It must be an act of love that comes with the words. In Calcutta these past two weeks I came to tell everyone I love them. Mother Teresa demonstrated those words by embracing with love in action everyone who the Lord sent into her life, one person at a time.

As we enter the paschal mystery, we are called to realize more deeply what Jesus did and is doing for us each day, to be good receivers as part of our loving.

I love you.