Today we celebrate Holy Thursday. It is on this day that Jesus Christ celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples. It was also the day that he instituted the Eucharist. Today, as a church worldwide, we will celebrate the Mass of the Last Supper. The Eucharist we celebrate is a sign of our unity in Jesus Christ, thus, we call what we receive “Communion.” Jesus Christ took the bread and offered it to his disciples saying, “take and eat, this my body” and in the same way, he took the cup and offered it as the cup of his blood, and instructed them: “do this in memory of me.” Jesus offered his body to his followers as a self-gift. He was saying to them, ‘I am holding nothing back from you, I give you the whole of myself as an act of love and service and I want you to do this in memory of me.’ There are three things rooted in our celebration today: unity, love and service. The Eucharist is meaningless if as Christians we fail to embody these three ideals.
As a church, we must look at fellow Christians all over the world as our brothers and sisters. As it has been rightly said, “the waters of baptism are stronger than blood ties.” An American who is a Christian is closer in relationship to me than a cousin who is a pagan. How is this unity exercised concretely? While it is exercised in through the visible head of the Church and in our liturgical celebrations, it is even the more concrete in how the global West looks at the global south. We in the West have a responsibility as a church to treat fairly our brothers and sisters in the global South. We do not consider what we do for them as charity work but sharing of ourselves with them. Jesus Christ shared his life with his followers not only out of pity but also out of love. He did not just give them a handout but he gave himself completely.
The gift of Christ is a gift of love. Christ loved us and died for us while we were still sinners. As Christian people, this love is the center of our faith. We love not only our friends but also our enemies. That is what is peculiar about the love of Jesus Christ. Love becomes extra-ordinary when we love those we may consider unlovable. There are many people if we are given a choice, we would never want to love them. It is to these people that Jesus Christ calls us to go and love. Our celebration today is a renewal of our promise to love as Christ loved.
Jesus Christ demonstrated his life of service by washing the feet of his disciples. Even though he was God, he stooped so low to wash the feet of his disciples. When Peter refused, he insisted that he must wash his feet as an example for him to follow. Jesus Christ has shown us an example and we all must be feet washers. It was not a lucrative thing to wash the feet of other people. We must not expect our work of service to be lucrative. We do not only serve those who are in the same class with us but those who are way lower than our social or economic class. We must not look at other people’s race, religion or social class in order to serve them. We must see everyone as Jesus Christ.
We can only make this world a Eucharistic world,, if we as Christians go out and live a life of unity, love and service. That is our challenge and may the grace of Christ strengthen you as you carry out this challenge.