Readings: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14;
1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15
"But if I washed your feet then you
must wash each other's feet." (John 13:14)
People often say "Seeing is believing."
But on Holy Thursday, Christ turns it all
around. On Holy Thursday, believing is
seeing. Today the Lord establishes His
greatest gift to His disciples, the Eucharist,
the gift that has carried the Lord's Presence
to His followers throughout the centuries.
Here in the Eucharist we humble human
believers see and taste God.
If you go to the Holy Land and visit the room
of the Last Supper, you will probably be
surprised at how plain it is. No great church
surrounds it, and nothing in the room would
give a hint of the majestic event that occurred
there. It is a simple upper room. This simplicity
reflects our gospel reading that calls us to be
servants of one another. Jesus' act of washing
the disciples' feet was a sacred rite that prepared
and purified them for the bread of life. If they did
not serve one another as Jesus was serving
them, then they could not receive the bread of life.
The poor of Jesus' day did not wear sandals,
so their feet needed to be washed before entering
a house. The poor of our day do not have sandals,
food, a home, or political power. Once we have
seen Christ in the Eucharist, we also see the
poor who need us to wash their feet, call them
into our home, lead them to the bread of life.
On this day when you were turned over to face
death on the cross, let us remember that only
you are God and only you can say what is bad
or good. Help us to remember the evil done this
night lead to the greatest good that mankind
could ever have wished. That it is only our
ignorance which makes us condemn those who
killed you instead of praising them as the heroes
who made Easter possible. Only you know how
you perceive them, and us. So help us to know
that we are here to love you and one and other.
Not condemn, just love. The love that Jesus
showed us every day of his life and death.
Readings: Isaiah 52:13-53: 12;
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9;
John 18:1-19, 42
"Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
our sufferings that he endured."
Jesus stretches out His Hands between
heaven and earth. The curtain in the Temple
that separated the people from God is ripped
in two. A new bridge has been established
between God and us. The bridge is Jesus
Who, now crucified, will never die again.
He lives forever as our passageway to the
living God! From His cross we discover
that the nature of the Church is to be a
spiritual family. And in that spiritual
family of the Church are the values of
humility, joy, interior peace, and simple piety.
The readings present us with the end of a
stage of history. No longer must humanity
be dragged by its fears, sit in unforgiven sins,
and live at the mercy of the evil spirit. Now
begins the era of the New Covenant of God
with humanity marked by the Spirit of God.
When Jesus gives up His Spirit, the Spirit
doesn't die but instead fills the Church. As
Isaiah prophesies: "See, my servant shall
prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly
exalted." (Isaiah 52:13)
In this year of the new creation make
forgiveness and peace hallmarks of your life.
Christ Jesus you hung upon a cross and died for us
So that we might live for you
Your body was broken and your blood shed
So that we might be healed and made whole
You were faithful unto death
So that we might be faithful unto life
Your last command was that we might love one another
One family together from every tribe and nation
A new creation united through your sacrifice
Redeemed by your blood
Healed by your love
United by your covenant of peace
In your death may we find life
Readings: Genesis 1:1-2: 2;
Genesis 22:1-18; Exodus 14:15-15:1;
Isaiah 54:5-14; Isaiah 55:1-11;
Baruch 3:19-15, 32-4:4;
Ezekiel 36:16-28; Romans 5:3-11;
"He has been raised up; He is not here."
Most families gather together after a
funeral. It is a time to console one another,
share memories of the deceased one, and
offer one another support during the healing
days ahead. So today the Christian family
gathers after the death of Jesus. The nine
readings used in the Easter Vigil call us to
remember the great deeds of God that
prepared the way for Jesus. Over and over
again we hear how God dramatically intervenes
in human affairs to create, to save, to reprimand,
and to form covenants. As we listen to stories
of the pervasive presence of God in our lives,
we know that we will never be abandoned. In this
comfort we turn to one another and give our
support to whatever healing we might need in
the days ahead. We can only love one another
because God has first and continuously loved us!
The Easter Vigil memories carried through
the readings end with Mark's quiet Resurrection
gospel. It was early in the morning, the dawn
was just breaking. In the faintness of that first
light, we hear of the resurrected Jesus Who
already has moved ahead into Galilee. Yes,
God again has dramatically intervened! The
young man in the white robe asks the disciples
to follow Jesus once more. Our vigil is over, the
night has ended. It is time to put on the armor
or day and join Christ in His mission to be the
Light of the World.
O God, Creator of heaven and earth:
Grant that, as the crucified body of your
dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on
this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him
the coming of the third day, and rise with him
to newness of life; who now lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever.
Acts 10:34,37-43; Psalms 118:1-2,16-17,22-23;
Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-9
"He saw and He believed" (John 20:.
A true story recounted by a man who celebrated
Easter Sunday in a big cathedral ...
It was a beautiful Spring day and a sense of
peace stayed with me as I left the Cathedral.
I paused on top of the steps leading to the
Avenue, now crowded with people, and there,
sitting in her usual place under a small archway
was the elderly woman know to many of us
Church-goers as the "Flower Lady." At her
feet were corsages and boutonniere spread
out on an open newspaper.
The flower lady was smiling, her wrinkled
old face alive with some inner-joy. I started
down the stairs, and on an impulse, I turned
and picked out a flower. As I put it in my lapel,
I said to the woman, "You look happy this
morning." She replied, cheerily, "Why not?
Everything is good." She was dressed so
shabbily and she seemed so very old, that
her reply startled me.
"You've been sitting here every Sunday for
many years," I said to her, "and you're always
smiling, you wear your troubles well."
"You can't reach my age and not have troubles,"
she replied, "only it's like Jesus and Good Friday."
She paused for a moment, then added,
"You see, when Jesus was crucified on Good
Friday that was the worst day for the world.
And when I get troubles I remember that.
And then I think of what happened only three
days later. Easter, and Our Lord, arising.
So, when I get troubles, I learn to wait three
days. And, somehow, everything gets all right
And she smiled "Good-bye," and her words
still follow me whenever I think I have troubles.
CHRIST IS RISEN!
For God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us
so very much, that even while we were dead
because of our sins, he gave us life when he
raised Christ from the dead.
Ephesians 2:4 NLT
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound—
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.
Amazing Grace , John Newton (1725-1807)
The gift of forgiveness is often best appreciated
by those who need it the most. The Reverend
John Newton experienced this truth firsthand.
His tombstone tells the story: "John Newton,
clerk, once an infidel and Libertine, a servant
of slavers in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, preserved,
restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach
the faith he had so long labored to destroy.
" These words were written by Newton himself,
a testimony to God's transforming power. After
years as a hardened slave trader, that "wretch"
met Jesus Christ and abruptly turned to defend
the gospel he had so long despised.
Throughout Newton's years of ministry, God's
amazing grace remained central to Newton's
thinking. When it was suggested he retire
(at age eighty-two!) due to poor health and a
failing memory, he responded, "My memory
is nearly gone, but I remember two things:
that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is
a great Savior!"
adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns
by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale
House Publishers (1995), entry for March 17
When a friend makes a mistake, don't rub it
in. Rub it out.