Sunday, April 9, 2017

Homily for Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Holy Thursday, by Beverly Bingle RCWP

Lent is over, and the Triduum begins.
Over the next three days,
you and I will give witness to Jesus’ commitment
to live in love and truth,
faithful to God’s will,
even at the cost of his life.
The commitment transforms him,
as it transforms us
when we ground ourselves
in God’s unconditional love
and Jesus' prophetic example.
Tonight we begin the Triduum
by following Jesus’ example
with a ritual washing of each other’s hands.
Jesus’ simple action, as told in John’s gospel,
lends itself to several interpretations.
It’s very often interpreted
as signifying that Jesus will suffer a humiliating death
on behalf of all humanity.
A related interpretation
reads the washing of dirty, smelly feet
as the act of a slave,
showing Jesus’ humble nature.
Another interpretation
looks at the meaning of Jesus’ actions
in their cultural context.
In biblical times
people looked at hands and feet
as a zone of the human body
that symbolized human activity.
To wash the feet or hands
was to wash away
all the offensive deeds done by those hands and feet,
so the washing was equal to forgiveness.
When Jesus tells his disciples to repeat his action for each other,
he is not telling them to go around washing everybody’s feet
but to forgive each other as he forgives them.
Another significant message in this Holy Thursday gospel
comes from the meal
that Jesus has called his disciples to share.
In the Middle East
unrelated people rarely, if ever, eat together,
but people saw Jesus regularly eating with others—
people who were not his relatives,
people who opposed him,
people who were strangers and aliens in the land.
Sharing a meal with someone who was not a blood relative
transformed that person into a family member,
one who became connected like family,
one committed to the giving of oneself
for the others at the table.
So we gather here in this holy space.
Some of us are relatives—
spouses, parents and children, brothers and sisters.
As a group, though,
we are just like those first followers of Jesus—
not relatives in the usual sense of the word
but children of the one God
invited by our brother Jesus
to forgive one another
by washing each other’s hands,
welcomed into the family
through our sharing of the meal.
Forgiven and fed,
we will go forth
ready to practice God’s love
in our world
for our time.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Holy Thursday, April 13, 5:30 p.m. Mass of the Lord's Supper
Easter Mass of the Resurrection, Saturday, April 15, 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue
Toledo, OH 43606
(Washington Church)

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006

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