Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Today, Maundy Thursday, is a day when the Church is called to remember. Remember what Jesus asked his first followers to do. Share in a meal of Thanksgiving. Wash each other’s feet. Serve one another. Love one another. Share with one another.
In remembering what Jesus asked his first followers to do, we also are remembering what kind of Teacher and Messiah chose to be. He chose to be a servant. He chose to express Divine power through human frailty. He chose to cross all the thresholds of his time, to share Good News with all. He chose to wash feet.
At the end of a traditional Maundy Thursday liturgy, the altar is stripped. The visible images and symbols of our faith are removed from the church. At the end of the night, the church has become a tomb, ready to receive the Body of the Suffering Servant.
Today, we remember what Jesus asked us to do. He asked us to serve. He asked us to love. He asked us to pray for the enemy. He asked us to proclaim Good News. He asked us to wash each other’s feet, to share in a meal of the Body and the Blood. Remember, remember, remember.
Finally, we remember that Jesus, who asked us to live this way, died on a cross, rejected by the powers of his world. So, along with remembering, today is also a day for choosing.
In this world, who will we follow? What will we remember as the true path that leads to life? If we follow Jesus, if we remember to choose his path again, we will also find ourselves at the cross. Serving and loving and sharing require your whole life.
In giving yourself away, Jesus tells us we will save our lives. In giving of self, we will find our true self. We will find the Real.
But first, he will die.
But this will not be the end. Somehow, by the grace and mercy of God, this is the beginning.