The Liturgy of the faithful for Holy Thursday replete with foot washing and meal demonstrates that we are (or will become) servants to those who are in need of food, clothing, shelter, jobs, dignity.
We are to interpret Scripture as Jesus did, tending toward inclusivity, mercy and justice. Jesus saw this as the clear intent and work of God.
In the first reading from Exodus (12:1-8), we read of Moses taking the people out of slavery and into a land of freedom. “This shall be celebrated as a perpetual institution.” (Exodus 12:14)
So we celebrate and pledge to make real the words of Moses, “Let my people go.” We pledge to help the poor rise out of squalor by helping them with basic needs such as food, employment, dignity.
Paul’s words in the second reading (I Cor 11:23-26) are clear. “This is my body and blood. Do this in remembrance of me.”
What is it that we are we to do? Our Lenten journey of sacrifices, almsgiving and prayer have reminded us to give to others; to “Die for one another.”
Literally? Well no. It does mean we are to give up our time, resources, energy and even our own will for others. Only then will we become “another Christ” for others. Only then will we have fulfilled Jesus’ commandment, “Do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15)
Perhaps the most meaningful prayer we might utter today is: ”Behold the wood of the Cross, on which hung the salvation of the world.”
And today, we are reminded six times in a glorious prayer called the Exsultet (meaning Proclamation):
This is the night … when once you led our forebears form slavery through the Red Sea.
This is the night … when a pillar of fire banished the darkness of sin.
This is the night … which sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices and sin.
This is the night … which drives out hatred, fosters concord.
This is the night … when things of heaven are wed to those of earth, the divine to the human.
May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star.
May the end of your Lenten journey find you filled with the gladness of the Paschal Feast!