Menu
Categories
Humility and Servanthood: Maundy Thursday Homily.
Saturday 26 March 2016 Articles

Why, on the night that Jesus institutes the Eucharist at the Last Supper, does he begin the evening by washing the disciples’ feet? What is the connection?

Jesus has a way of taking the familiar and turning the meaning on its head. Echoed throughout his teaching is the lesson of humility: If you want to be first in the Kingdom be last and the servant of all. When the disciples jostle for position, he takes a child and says ‘if you don’t accept the Kingdom in a childlike manner you cannot enter it.’ If you want to live, then die.

The disciples would have been familiar, as a part of hospitality, that on entering a house a servant would wash guests’ feet after a journey. As if in a sense of urgency, to re-enforce the message of humility and servanthood, Jesus-God in flesh- washes his disciples’ feet. He washes the feet of Judas Iscariot, whom he knows will betray him; of Peter, who will deny him three times and of the others who will abandon him.

Despite Peter’s protestations, Jesus states unless he, Peter, allows God to kneel in the dust and wash his feet, he cannot enter and participate in the Eucharistic meal. There can be no asserting of self and of rights here. The disciples, and we of course, are called likewise to the way of humility by allowing the Servant King to wash us in preparation for a meal such as this- a participation in Christ.

Jesus in this very act elevates the dignity of the lowly and despised and unseen; the disciples will never see a servant in the same light again as the servant now becomes an icon of Christ. Yet more importantly he reveals the very nature and shape of the Church’s ministry and mission.

Whenever the Church has forgotten this lesson and the People of God have courted power, it has always ended badly and obscured the Life of Christ within it.

The priest is not the Master of the Faith, its beliefs and liturgy, but rather called to be a faithful servant to it. The People of God also are not Masters of the Church’s mission or its liturgy but are asked in humility to be subject to it.

In this humble service of priest and people the life of Christ in this Eucharist is seen more clearly, is more tangible to our perception and deepens Christ’s life within us.

In the crisis that will engulf the disciples soon after this meal, it is these actions of Jesus that will provide the shape and meaning that emerges from the chaos to come. It is the anchor that will hold firm in the storm that threatens to overwhelm and obliterate us. Remember God kneeling in the dust, washing our feet and at table crying out “This is my body; this is my blood.” Divine love will arise from the chaos triumphant in the end.

Comments are closed
 
  • Clergy

    Fr Neil Chatfield
    Email using the form · 07718 123304 · SMS

    Postal address for the clergy
    PO Box 3223, Eastbourne BN21 9RS

  • RSS Today

  • Universalis:
    Church of England: Not available for this time of day

    Liturgy in a Time of Crisis · Video
  • Services and events this week

    September 2021

    Thursday 23 September

    S Pius of Petrelcina Pr
    7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    Mass
    Christ the King Church, Langney

    Also streamed on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/eastbourneordinariate

    Friday 24 September

    Our Lady of Walsingham

    Because this solemnity falls on a Friday this year, canon law suspends the Friday abstinence.

    7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    Solemn Mass
    Christ the King Church, Langney

    Followed by a celebration in the small hall. Please do bring food to share at the party.

    Sunday 26 September

    Trinity XVII
    4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
    Mass
    Christ the King Church, Langney

    Monday 27 September

    S Vincent de Paul Pr

    Tuesday 28 September

    S Wenceslas M; SS Lawrence Ruiz & Comp MM

    Wednesday 29 September

    SS Michael, Gabriel & Raphael, Archangels
  • Login

  • Location

    Tap the map for directions

    Christ the King Church, Princes Road, Langney
    Christ the King Langney

  • Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

    The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is a part of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales
    The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is a registered charity, number 1141536 | Safeguarding
    Content © Eastbourne Ordinariate Mission | Image OLW by Thorvaldsson | Powered by WordPress
*