Mass of the Lord's Supper
Ex 12:1-8, 11-14; I Cor 11:23-6;
The Institution of Priesthood and the Holy Eucharist.
"Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew
that his hour had come to depart from this world and go
to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the
world, he loved them to the end.
The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas,
son of Simon Iscariot, to betray him. And during supper
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into
his hands, and that he had come from God and was going
to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe,
and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water
into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and
to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, 'Lord, are you
going to wash my feet?' Jesus answered, 'You do not know
now what I am doing, but later you will understand.'
Peter said to him, 'You will never wash my feet.' Jesus
answered, 'Unless I wash you, you have no share with
me.' Simon Peter said to him, 'Lord, not my feet only
but also my hands and my head!' Jesus said to him, 'One
who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the
feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though
not all of you.' For he knew who was to betray him; for
this reason he said, 'Not all of you are clean.'
After he had washed their feet, put on his robe, and
returned to the table, Jesus said to them, 'Do you know
what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord -
and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your
Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought
to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an
example, that you also should do as I have done to
you.'" [Jn. 13:1-15]
The last supper of
Jesus is celebrated all over the world millions of times
a day in different communities, and the strength that is
obtained from this celebration nurtures so many millions
more round the globe, is a daily miracle that takes
Jane and Vincent
came to me for arranging annulment of their marriage. I
was not able to give them any answer after listening
them. Yet, I challenged them saying that they should
visit me separately. They agreed. I called Jane and said
that I would work for annulment of their marriage
provided she does one charitable act towards her
husband. “What?” she asked. I told her that she should
look at her husband’s face for 10 minutes before going
ahead with this process. She agreed. I called then
Vincent and said to him that before any procedure he has
to wash the feet of his wife Jane. “Impossible” he said.
Then my reply, “impossible for annulment of marriage”.
“Well then” he said, “if you proceed towards annulment I
will do that work”. A day was fixed for both of them to
do this exercise on a single sitting. I had no clue as
to what happened to this couple later. But one day both
of them came to my office, with a cake. I was surprised
to see them both so happy and together. I asked what had
happened. Well, the answer was, the husband had washed
the feet of his wife and she was just sobbing and
weeping and embraced her husband and she looked at him
not just for 10 minutes but for more than 15 minutes and
thereafter they had become friends, burying all their
past and becoming more of a loving couple.
visited one of my friend’s home. The hosts, Robert and
Julie were happy to see me. Once settled in our
conversation and discussion on various topics over a cup
of tea, Robert suddenly zeroed in on an interesting
topic ‘church’. He complained saying, ‘Fr. Rudy, you see
in the past our churches were full, vibrant, liturgy was
good, all people used to sing and participate actively
in the Holy Eucharist, now it seems people have lost
sense of this sacredness, ‘they do it for the sake of
doing it’. Then he added, ‘to tell you my own experience
dear father, I have attended in my past 40 years more
than 3000 holy Eucharistic celebrations and I do not
find any drastic change in me’. Then retorted Julie ‘yes
dear Fr. Rudy, I have cooked more than 40000 meals for
my husband over the last 25 years, and I do not find any
specific change in him either’. I was stunned by this
peculiar conversation. I had to bring this conversation
to an end and said, ‘You both seem to understand less of
these facts about the Holy Eucharist and the daily food
habits. Do you love one another? ‘Yes dear father, we do
really love one another, we forgive one another’ they
replied. “Do you accept one another and do you go to bed
without talking to each other when things go wrong?”
‘Never’ was the reply. What about your children well
settled? Yes father, thank God, they are all well
settled and happy. What about your health condition?
“Thank God dear father, we are all healthy and happy. No
major sickness in our family. Then I said to them,
‘Robert you said ‘nothing extraordinary happened in your
life after those 3000 Holy Eucharistic celebrations’,
but I find a lot of good in your life, you love, you
forgive, you accept one another, you live a peaceful
life, what more you do want, would you like to be lifted
up in the air each time you receive the Holy Eucharist?
Julie, you confess that your family members are healthy,
happy, united and you said there is no major sickness,
don’t you think this is the outcome of your own hard
work at providing good food to your family members?’
‘well dear friends’, I concluded, ‘you should see
wonderful secret hidden miracles happening in your
family and among the members. What a truth that the Holy
Eucharist and the family Eucharist of daily meals and
food has done such a lot of good and you continue to
experience its good effects?’ The conversation ended
with a peaceful note with the acknowledgement of the
reality of the importance of translating the effects of
the Holy Eucharist in our daily life.
We find everywhere memorials are erected. War memorials,
peace memorials for the heroes, liberation memorial of a
nation, memorial for holy people, for political and
national leaders etc. But you will not find a meal as
memorial anywhere but in the case of Jesus’ last Supper.
Diana and Dodi died a tragic death after their supper at
Ritz hotel in Paris in 1997. At that last supper Dodi
had given a ring worth 130000 pounds to Diana. Mr. Dodi
himself a millionaire said to Diana it seems that their
love would be eternal. They had planned to go to
California and settle down. But the tragic death ended
all that planning.
Supper Is A Moment To Share Our Intimate Feelings.
was a memorial.
We have many memorials erected in our country for all
those who died a brave death. We have memorials of
Buddha and many saints of India.
But the memorial of Lord, that is left by
himself, is unique and can never find an equal match to
Whenever we go to a memorial, it will remind us of the
good deeds that the person or that event accomplished.
It will only recall to our mind pain and sorrow,
liberation and victory; where as the memorial of our
Lord gives us life in abundance (Jn 10.10) and strength.
The memorial is the Eucharist. With the mysterious words
pronounced on the bread and wine, we are offered the
greatest of the aliments and graces. The body and blood
of Christ, is the essence of Christianity.
The other memorials in the world are only reminders; the
memorial of our Lord is a celebration that vibrates in
Before the actual Last Supper took place Jesus washed
the feet of the Apostles. There was one who protested:
Peter. He was always afraid of the Cross. He wanted a
crown without sweat or suffering.
The washing of the feet of the apostles began with a
series of seven actions.
During the meal the master has no need to rise. He would
command and everything will be served.
Laying aside his garments:
Why did he lay aside his garments? Apostles astounded.
He stripped himself for work.
Taking a Towel:
Here there was no need for a big towel. Perhaps the
disciples did not understand what was going to happen.
They were making their own conclusions.
Putting it about Him:
He becomes the first servant among his disciples. I call
you friends and not servants. Most probably the
disciples were all dumb founded. Could not understand
what was he going to do.
Now the disciples were sure he wanted to wash something.
Never they thought that he would come closer to their
feet. Something never had happened in the history is
going to happen. To show to the whole world that it is
in serving and washing the feet that we need to build
up. Service provokes love and compassion. Service helps
relate with others, service makes one equal to the
Washing the feet:
The very act of washing the feet was reserved to the
slaves during those days and even today. Jesus becomes
slave to his own disciples. What a condescension! What
he spoke was getting realized. I came to serve and not
to be served.
Wiping with a towel:
The dirty feet of the disciples were cleansed for
proclaiming the good news. The would happen walking long
distances. Water had to be wiped, to make it sure they
are all clean. Jesus wanted an action that is complete.
He could ask a servant to wipe. No, he himself wiped the
feet. Wiping soothes the feet. When the feet are washed
and wiped one feels relaxed.
Then Jesus enters the Second Scenario of the Last Supper
Often he spoke of his body. He would take a new body
after the passion and death. The Body of Christ has
seven features which are to be realized in our life too
if we have to become his close disciples and if we have
to become the partakers of his resurrection.
He told them that to be a member of his new Body all
would have to be born into it. But it would not be
through a human birth, for that made sons of Adam;
to be a member of His new Body one would have to be
reborn through the spirit in the water
of Baptism which would made adopted sons of
God. Nicodemus (John 3:3-5). No one can enter the
kingdom of God unless born of Spirit and Water.
The unity between this new Body and Him would not be
through singing hymns to Him, nor having social teas
in his name, nor listening to broadcasts, but
through sharing his life: “Dwell in me, as I in
you... I am the vine and you are the branches. (Jn
15:5). Attachment to Christ.
His new Body would be like all living things, small
at first - even as he said “like a mustard seed”;
but it would grow from simplicity to
complexity until the consummation of the world. As
he put it: “first the blade, then the ear, then
full-grown corn in the ear” (Mk 4:28).
house expands from the outside in, by the addition
of brick to brick; human organizations grow by the
addition of man to man, i.e., from the circumference
to the centre. HIS Body, He said, would be formed
from the inside out, as a living embryo is
formed in the human body. As He received life from
the Father, the faithful would receive life from
Him. As He put it: “May they all be one as thou,
Father art in me, and I in thee, so also may they be
in us” (Jn 17:21): one in mission; one in spirit;
one in goal; one in work; one in community; one in
prayer; one in praise; one in forgiveness; one in
Eucharist; one in communion and sharing.
Our Lord said that He would have only one Body. It
would be a spiritual one for Him to have many bodies
or a dozen heads. To keep it one, it would have
one shepherd, whom He appointed to feed His
lambs and His sheep. “There will then be one flock,
one shepherd” (Jn10:16). Invitation to accept
authority. No institution or organization can
function without a head.
He said that His new body would not manifest itself
before men until the day of Pentecost when He
would send His truth-giving Spirit. “If I do not go,
your Advocate will not come” (Jn 16:7). Holy Spirit
is at the root of our vocation, mission, and
The most interesting observation He made about His
body was that it would be hated by the world,
as He was. Anything worldly the world loves. But
what is Divine, the world hates: “Because
I have chosen you out of the world, for that reason
the world hates you” (Jn 15:20).
The Last Supper is a
moment of great renewal to all of us. It is the
institution of priesthood that enables us to be like
Jesus. Jesus wanted to have this unique experience with
his disciples before his death on the
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