This is the day of Love:
Jesus, the Living Bread,
gives Himself to us, His friends, His people
April 9th, 2020
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Today, on this Holy Thursday, we have just listened to the page of John’s Gospel that describes the moment when Jesus, together with His Apostles, gives His Love to the very end. Jesus has the knowledge, He has the awareness that the hour has come for Him to pass from this world to His Father. This is Easter, the passage, the passage of Resurrection, and Jesus helps us to understand, by His sacrifice, the meaning of the immolation of Himself in order to give life. Behold, Jesus loves, He loves to the end, those who have followed Him: His friends, His Apostles, all except one, the one who had wanted to betray Him, the one who wanted to let the evil spirit enter his heart. Only if you give the evil spirit a chance to enter, you’ll fall, but the moment you do not want to let the evil spirit enter, the evil spirit can do nothing against the sons of God.
There is not a little Judas in each one of us, unless you want to behave like Judas and let the spirit of evil enter your heart. If one remains firm and steadfast in faith, in Jesus, everything can and will be overcome. And here is that Jesus carries out that gesture that remains in history: He gets up and washes the feet of His Apostles. Jesus carries out the gesture that was of the servants; Jesus who makes Himself the servant of His friends. His friends understand the greatness of that action, they understand, they have understood that Jesus is Master and Lord. That is why Peter objects to that action, but Jesus makes him understand that that action is necessary so that they can totally take part in Him.
His friends, with the exception of the betrayer, are already cleansed, they already live in communion with the Master, but to be totally cleansed, here is this last gesture that brings the Master, the Lord, to wash their feet, to wash that part of the body that touches the ground, that is in contact with the soil, with humanity, and is most exposed to be dirtied. Here it is that Jesus carries out this gesture to make these his friends totally clean, perfect. This is the Love that overcomes every shadow, every stain. Jesus stoops down to cleanse and to save and, in the moment when Jesus carries out this action, He invites everyone to fully understand the importance of that action: “As I do to you, do it to one another”. This is the invitation made by Jesus to His friends, to the Apostles, to those who acknowledged Him as Master and Lord. This action must be well understood.
Jesus carries out that action to those who have recognised Him as Master and Lord, to His own; this is not the moment to think of the poor, the imprisoned, the marginalised.
This gesture cannot be made to those who do not understand the divinity of the Lord, just as Jesus said on another occasion, when Mary poured that scented oil to honour the Lord: “You always have the poor with you”; this is the time to think of the Lord, the Master. Therefore, this gesture makes us understand what it means to be Church; it is to be done primarily towards those who have the responsibility, in order to be Church. Here it is that Jesus carries out this action towards the Apostles, the pillars of the nascent Church. Here it is that Jesus performs this action towards those who have acknowledged Him as Christ and Messiah. Here is the Church of Christ and here is that Jesus, by this gesture, institutes the brotherhood that there must always be inside the Church of Christ. Here is the new commandment of which Jesus speaks immediately afterwards: “I give you a new commandment: love one another; as I have loved you, so you also love one another. It is by this that everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”.
Here it is that Jesus institutes the fraternal love that there always must be, that must circulate within the Ecclesia, the Church, therefore inside even among those who hold positions of responsibility in the Church, so that brotherhood may prevail over every unholy sentiment among the brothers, among those in charge, among ministers; and thus this sentiment must predominate among all those who are members of the mystical body that is Church and among all the faithful, so that jealousy, egoism, envy may be defeated by the fraternal love instituted by Jesus at that moment by that action.
Here it is that prayer finds its highest fulfilment in the Eucharist, in the live Communion with Jesus the Living Bread descended from Heaven; that is taking part of His Heart, of His Spirit, of His Soul, to be in perfect communion. And here is the brotherhood, prayer and brotherhood, the fulcrum and the centre of the life of those who are Church, faithful of Christ, brothers of Christ, friends of Christ.
Here is the teaching given to us today by Jesus, in the moment He instituted the Eucharist, together with His friends, He immolates Himself to give Life, eternal Life, putting back at the centre the communion of heart, of soul and spirit, hence the live prayer with God, the Living Bread descended from Heaven, and also the brotherhood, so that love and brotherhood may prevail over whatever other sentiments, in the Church and in all those who want to be Church.
In doing so, every test will be overcome and all who look and see, will acknowledge the true Church of Christ, the true disciples of Christ, without any doubt, without ambiguity.
On this holy and solemn day, Jesus, the Living Bread descended from Heaven, He who immolates Himself to give us Life, may He bless us in His Holy Name of Father, of Son and of Holy Spirit.