Holy Thursday 2017

Today is Holy Thursday. Today is the start of the Last Supper, arrest, trial, sentencing, execution, burial and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth – God made Man. Today’s ceremony is a representation of His Last Supper. His Last Supper is a symbolic enactment of the events of Thursday evening through to Sunday morning. It is a re-enactment in signs and symbols of the latter events. It is the way he gave us to remember Him and these events. ‘Do this in memory of me’ he said. Today I want to highlight one aspect of receiving Holy Communion which is generally not emphasised. The consecration of the bread and wine separately symbolises the death of Jesus. Separation of body and blood inevitably brings death. Just before Communion the priest drops a small piece of the host into the chalice while saying ‘May this mingling of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it.’ This symbolises the resurrection – the reunion of body and blood symbolises the return of life. So when I receive Communion I am united with the Risen Lord – with the Lord who is now seated at the right hand of the Father in Eternal Life. In more mundane terms it is being given the title deed to the house; to the property. It is now mine. I am already living in Eternal life. I am already a sharer in the Eternal Life of the Father just as Christ is a sharer in the Eternal Life of the Father. Receiving the Eucharist symbolises an already existing situation. Holy Communion symbolises my already possession of eternal life. The actual giving of eternal life now, and the guarantee of the future possession of eternal life. This sounds funny but when I receive Communion I sometimes (in my own mind) wander around in Eternal Life greeting my deceased relatives and friends and chatting with them. ‘Surfing the cloud’ as you might say. (Or maybe I am just a candidate for the psychiatric ward!!) So receiving The Eucharist, plants me spiritually and solidly in Eternal Life – in union with my God – I await my physical resurrection to experience this with my physical senses. Christianity is living out this spiritual reality in my daily life. Struggling to get across to the Apostles what Christianity means in practise, Jesus jumped up, grabbed a basin of water and a towel and washed their feet. ‘I have given you an example he said.’ It is a pipe dream or it is what gives meaning and purpose to life.