“DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME” (Luke 22:19)
Today is a very special day in the life of the Church. On this day, the Church celebrates the institution of the Sacred Ministerial Priesthood, the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the special ministry of love and service. In most local Churches today, the priests gather around their Bishop to renew their vows and commitment to obedience to the Church and of love and service to God’s people (though some would do this on other days).
Today, we will hear the voice of Jesus asking us again, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me teacher and master, and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (John 13:12-15).
The English term ‘minister’ is a direct lift from the Latin word ‘minister‘, which means ‘servant.’ That is a good expression of what Jesus demands of his disciples above. Leadership is about service. Through the act of washing their feet, he taught them love and humility. That was shortly before the institution of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, thereby showing a deep connection and role of love to the Eucharistic life. But most times, this love is lost even among brethren who share from the same table of the Lord.
The historical background of St Paul’s teaching on the Holy Eucharist exposes this fact. It happened that when the people gathered for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, there were division and oppression of the poor among them (cf. 1Cor 11:17-22). It was in condemnation of that attitude that he recounted the tradition which he received from Jesus Christ himself (cf. 1Cor 11:23). That tradition was built upon love and Paul ends it with an expression that indicates an intention of the Lord to have that tradition unbroken till he comes.
Now it is for the continuous re-living of that tradition that Priests are ordained. Today, while we prepare to celebrate the Memorial of the Lord’s Supper, the priests equally gather to renew their promises to be good servants of Christ among the people. They need prayers at this time and always to remain servants in the face of crisis of identity among leaders in the world today.
And may all Christ’s faithful continue to be good ambassadors of love among all in the world that is filled with strife and hatred. Amen.
Happy feast day to all Priests and happy celebration of love to all Christians and people of goodwill.
Have a fruitful celebration of the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday).
It will be good for us to be holy while celebrating these Holy Days.
Peace be with you.