. “..the Last Supper..Jesus giving his life for us..this is as good as it gets..but there is one thing missing..where is your passion? ..where is the energy you gave your life for all those years ago?” ..voice of a young eager practising Catholic challenging her Parish Priest..a challenge to me tonight & to each of you..passionate enough about your faith to be here tonight.. ..in our little parish & our little faith I often feel like character in scripture bartering with his God who seemingly threatened cithy for lack of enough good people..60 of us here last year on Maundy Thursday..if you find only 50 of us here tonight will you destroy it? ..30 of us? ..if only 30 good practising Catholics came tonight, will Christ come to life among us, in word, in bread & wine, & in person? ..you know the answer..not right answer but real one ..tonight is the sacrament of the Church..the Body of Christ becoming the real presence of the Body of Christ & passionately..
“..this is simply an act of ordinary love..” ; Lord have mercy “..he loves us then & still tonight..enough to be close enough to us to be real..” ; Christ have mercy “..the real blood of a man who was murdered by our police, our soldiers, defending our right to live without love..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..a supper, a family meal, round this family table in this, our families upper room, furnished with the prayer love & companionship of generations of your families & neighbours, who have nurtured & maintained, in prayer, story & commitment, this sacred space & holy ground..& when we loan it out, offering eucharistic hospitality to College vith form retreat I make one condition; that you love it & respect it deeply enough to take your shoes off in porch & come inside in your socks..a home space, warm comfortable relaxing; we have talked earlier in Lent of Pope Francis’ invitation to his Bishops/priests to “smell the sheep” to get close enough to them/you & their real lives to smell them..& their smelly socks!..& tonight to wash their feet..a moment & a lifetime of formation & hospitality “do this in memory of me” wash my feet as I have washed yours..last week Pope Francis invited two political leaders of South Sudan, bitter enemies, where civil war has so far killed 280,000, to come to Rome for a retreat; to live pray & listen to each other in hope of finding making & keeping peace in war torn weary country; the Pope met with them. prayed for them & then went to each of them to kiss their feet..”I am asking you as brothers to stay in peace; I am asking you with my heart, let us go forward; there will be many problems but they will not overcome us. [us!]; resolve your problems. There will be struggles & disagreements among you, but keep them within you, inside the office so to speak; but in front of the people, hold hands united, so as simple citizens, you will become fathers of the nation.” You may know that in St John’s gospel, there is no account of the Last Supper; he replaces it with tonights gospel, the washing of feet; servant discipleship..poem by Bill Heubsch “rethinking the Sacraments”..”..it was when he washed their feet that he founded his church; this is the apostles real baptism, their reconciliation, their call to ministry; this is, most importantly, their eucharist; this is for John & for us, the moment when the body of Christ is embraced, shared, broken,.the intimate love-making among them replaces for John any words of institution.”..what a gesture by Pope to share a profound eucharistic moment with these sworn enemies, as deep & real as a Catholic Mass, this Mass, never ever repeated..this a first Mass, never before & never again after tonight..real fresh intimate & immediate, because although readings/words/action/ritual are same, we as vital ingredients/constituents are different since last meal we shared together. ”come as you are..feel quite at home, close to my heart, loved & forgiven, come as you are, why stand alone?..no need to fear, love sets no limits; no need to fear, love never ends; don’t run away shamed & disheartened, rest in my love, trust me again.” our Sun mornings have deepening sense of eucharist.. seasoned yeasted by our after Mass coffee,which now includes home baked cakes & biscuits..last Sun shortbread biscuits, cross shaped for Palm Sunday, baked prayed loved into flavour & life..one of our beloved young disciples sometimes misses Mass pt 1 to stay at home to bake a cake & bring it, still warm delicious & alive, to Mass pt 2 in Hall, the divine real presence in her smile pride & offering; the gift of herself & her talent as young baker to us, brothers & sisters in the Body of Christ..her eucharistic prayer woven to Our Lords at Last Supper, & to ours at each eucharist we share together..to take to bless to break & to give..a new commandment, a new understanding of eucharist & of hospitality is it not?.. ”I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you”; examples among us of “intimate love-making”; a young girl in SBPS, now we have lost our school minibus from Easingwold, comes on her own on X31 every day & she is blossoming as beautifully as our cherry tree..feeding our daily breadmaking in school..how many other schools can boast that, a freshly baked loaf every day?..& last Friday at our anticipated Palm Sun service in School I blessed the palms children & teachers; & in need of a young baker to bring me & my palm to life, I asked one of our first Communion candidates to bless me & my palm with holy water..”come as you are, love sets no limits” this meal this moment a sacrament.. “simply an act of ordinary love” [ Maundy Thurs Jn13;1-15 ]