Maundy Thursday

When we read and reflect on the Beatitudes there is always a lingering ‘too good to be true’ feeling, if only they can be lived out, if only we can put them into practice. Somewhere there is always a big BUT.

Now, as the events of the Holy Triduum unfold before us we can be amazed that in the life of one human being the  Beatitudes have been lived out and their promises fulfilled. During these days we can contemplate Jesus the blessed one, in whose person and life we can understand the meaning of the Beatitudes and of the whole Gospel.

I give you the example so that you can do likewise

Today, as he sits at table with his closest friends, he, the meek and humble of heart, kneels down to wash their dirty feet. He knows that all power had been given to him, he knows that one of them will soon betray him, and that they will all soon abandon him and flee for their lives. Yet, he insisted that they accept this gesture of deep humility from the one they called their Lord, so that they can do the same to others.

Take and eat, this is my body, my blood

He then does an even more astonishing thing: he takes the bread, gives thanks, breaks it and gives it to his disciples saying, ‘Take and eat, this is my body which is given up for you’. These few words summarise all the life of Jesus, who he lets his body be broken as a total gift to us in a spirit of thanksgiving to the Father.

Do this in memory of me

In the Eucharist Jesus left us his memorial, a living memory of his concrete love for us. It is something that, like the earthly Jesus, is totally accessible, looks very vulnerable and fragile yet is a concrete sign of the power of God’s presence in our life and in that of the world.

This can only be understood when it is celebrated within a community that is not closed in itself but is at the service of the world it is in, ready to wash its dirty feet.

As we celebrate this great mystery of our faith today, let us ask for the grace to grow in our understanding of the Eucharist and of what it tells us about Jesus and about being his disciple.

In today’s audiovisual, it is a little child who brings you the profound story of ‘Gethsemane’ – Claire Ryann (3 years old)

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