Today is the beginning of the Triduum, the most important three days in our lives as Catholics and the children of God. The activities of these three days will end with the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Within the context of our celebration today, Jesus instituted two sacraments in the church. They are the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Order (the ministerial priesthood). He also went further by giving us a mandate as his followers and he said, “Love one another as I have loved you”. This mandate given to us today by Jesus, he exemplified himself by washing the feet of his disciples. According to the Jewish custom, this is a job that is usually left for the slave or servant in the house. But because of the love Jesus have for you and me, he decided to be at the service of his disciples; an invitation to fraternal love and service. By so doing inviting all his followers to also practice the same thing in our daily lives.
In the 1st reading of today from Exodus, we are presented with the Passover experience of the Israelites in Egypt that brought about their liberation and freedom from slavery in Egypt. In the celebration of the Passover feast, the blood of the lamb was put in the two doorsteps and the lintel … and God said, when I see the blood I will Passover it. Till this day, the Passover feast is still celebrated annually by the Israelites. This was the sacrifice that was done with the blood of the lamb. While in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist instituted by Jesus Christ in today’s liturgy, he is giving us himself as the sacrificial lamb; his body and blood. This is a sacrament of thanksgiving and Gods love for humanity. Each time we partake of the Eucharist sacrifice, we do it in memory of the Him.
St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (11:23-26) in the 2nd reading, reminds us that as often as we partake of the Eucharistic sacrifice, we re-enact the event of this day. As such, there is need for us who partake of the Eucharistic sacrifice to give it the respect and importance that it deserves. St. Paul was making this assertion in relation to the way the rich and Aristocrats were taking the Eucharist at that time. The Eucharist is the summit of our life and faith as Catholics; let us reverence this wonderful gift of Himself that God has given to humanity. This brings us to a very important question’s, what does the Eucharist mean to you as a person? Do you believe in the real presence of God in it and the power that is there in? The right answers to these questions will go a long way in making us true children of God. The Eucharist is an expression of God’s love for humanity.
In today’s liturgy, we see the institution of the ministerial priesthood. A means through which the action of Jesus at the last supper will continue to be re-enacted eternally. Also in our liturgy of today we see Jesus washing the feet of his followers; a gesture of love and humility. By carrying out this action, Jesus is teaching you and me as his followers to emulate him by doing the same thing in our daily lives. Jesus is inviting us to imbibe his servant-leader approach. Serving people while you lead them, not by exploiting them for personal benefit. This is very important in our individual life, family and in the world at large. Humility is the key to the success of the model of leadership presented to us today by Jesus Christ himself.
It is my prayer that God will grant us the grace to live a life worthy of emulation. Peace be with you. Amen.