Be People Of Humble Service

wasing of the feet

Holy Thursday 2024

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: March 28, 2024

What kind of world do we hope for?  We see the reality of destruction, death and hatred in Gaza, we see the use of weapons and violence in Ukraine, we see other divisions in various parts of our world.  We long for a world where peace is possible.

What kind of church do we hope for?  We see a church that at times is divided, clergy who are corrupt or abusive, Catholics who at times do not reflect the love and mercy of God.  We long for a church that reflects the face of Jesus.

What kind of family do we hope for?  We see families that are broken, separated from one another, fighting over various issues.  We long for a family in which we find a true home.

What path is there to a world, a church, a family that we hope for?

In this Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we see two key elements, that if embraced by us, would help lead us to the world, the church, the family we long for.

First, in the washing of the feet, Jesus models for us a way of being in relationship to one another.  Rooted in service.  Beginning by looking not at what others should offer to me, but what can I offer to others.  Imagine world leaders and political leaders who were truly rooted in service.  Imagine if we looked at other countries and peoples not as enemies, but as peoples we want to serve to make life better for all of us.

Imagine a church, in particular priests, deacons and bishops, who were truly rooted in a spirit of service.  Humble service expressed in the washing of the feet of others.

Imagine our families, if spouses truly desired to serve their spouse, if parents and children and grandparents really looked first to how they can serve the others before looking at what they deserved.

A spirit of humble service in our lives would make a huge difference in our world, our church and our families.

Second, at this Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we commemorate the Last Supper, therefore, the Eucharist.  A Sacred Meal.  The healthiest families gather together regularly to share meals.  Jesus left us as our primary church prayer, a meal in which we are fed by the very body and blood of Christ himself.  At shared meals we speak to each other, we share with one another, we celebrate.  Celebrating is so important for healthy families and a healthy church and a healthy world.

Imagine a world in which nations sat together to discuss issues, not as enemies but in a spirit of celebration of our communion human family.  Imagine a church in which we gathered together at the Mass in a spirit of celebration of our communion as brothers and sisters in Jesus.  Imagine our families in which we gathered together regularly to celebrate our common journey.

Speaking with one another, celebrating with one another, reflected in shared meals, this would make a huge difference in our world, in our church, in our families.

This way of being in relationship with each other reflected in Jesus at the Last Supper and the washing of the feet is expressed so perfectly in the Prayer of St. Francis.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Be people of humble service, be with others in a spirit of celebration sharing our common humanity. Being with others in this way would help lead to the world, the church and the family that we long for.

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