“Why is this night different from all other nights?” My brothers and sisters, with that ancient question, the youngest member of every Jewish family questions his Father as they sit at the yearly Passover Table.
My friends, we gather this evening to solemnly begin the heart of the Christian Passover as we mark the end of Lent and enter the Solemn celebration of the dying and rising of Christ in his Paschal Journey. This is our Passover as brothers and sisters who bear the name of the Savior. Why is this night different from all other nights for us as members of the new covenant?
We gather tonight to remember and to give thanks for the one who passed from death to life and in whose blood, we are redeemed.
We remember the heart of our faith in the gift of the Eucharist. During the great meal of remembrance, Jesus gave to his followers a legacy of his presence in bread broken and cup shared. As Catholics are identities are shaped by the gift of the Eucharist for we are called to become that which we receive – the Body of Christ for the life of the world.
We remember tonight the gift of the ministerial Priesthood as a call to loving service in the Church. For me and for my brothers who join with me tonight in offering this Holy Thursday liturgy, we are keenly aware of the pain that some of our brothers have inflicted on the Body of Christ. Despite the darkness that overshadows the priesthood these latter days, know of our recommitment to you to lead and to serve in the image of Him who did not hesitate to kneel and wash the feet of his disciples. Pray for us and help us by your example to be faithful to the grace of our ordination.
And finally, tonight we remember that each of us is called to break open our lives in humble service of one another. The great humanitarian, Albert Schweitzer, once said, “I know not what your destiny may be, but this I am sure of – that those who seek true happiness are the ones who have sought and learned how to serve!”
As the feet of our sisters and brothers are washed, may each of us recommit ourselves to embracing a humility that acknowledges our radical dependence on the Lord of our lives. And in the humble service that we are called to give to one another, may we come to see the face of Christ in the poor, the homeless, the hungry, the broken, the abused and all those who walk with Jesus to the cross of new life. “Do this in remembrance of me”.