Maundy Thursday: Love – the Essence of the Life of Jesus

Homily – Maundy Thursday, 6th April 2023

Reading: John 13: 1-17, 31-35

The Shadow of the Cross that was evident at the annunciation, clearer at the manger, sharper at the shouts of Hosanna, inevitable after the cleansing of the Temple was at its peak. This supper was to be his last, before the experience of the cross.

In the Last Supper discourse that we heard read I would want to draw your attention to three aspects of Love evident therein

Love is an experience Jesus lived out

He loved them to the Last
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 

Why is our love so short-lived?

Why does love fade away?

Why is that circumstances affect our love to others?

Why is that love that lasts to the end is not our experience?

Here is Passover again

A celebration of memories

A celebration of the stories of a no-people, becoming a people of God through the Liberation that God made possible

A story where the children of wandering Arameans were established by the Lord

Passover was a memory of liberation- ever so relevant to a people who were under a new regime, this time of the Romans.

Oppression had taken new forms, oppressors new names and faces.

Jesus affirms

Love is essential for any engagement with Liberation

Jesus knew that his hour is come. The hour for his departure- note the word- departure from this world to that of His Father.

This consciousness of the Hour is essential for Love to flourish

We are all to depart from here one day

Our hour will come too

What else can we do then but to Love

Love to the Last

But More So

This Departure is to meet the Father

What more credentials can we carry but Love

If Grace would allow us to be with the Father

Love to the Last

Is not an option

For the Hour is Surely Coming

It is also good to note- Jesus, knew that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God.

This clarity of our pathways and destination leaves us with no option but to love till the last

Love was Jesus’ experience

Love as an example set by Jesus.

At supper Jesus  got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 
So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 

Yes Jesus set an example

He gave a commandment, which somehow did not become a sacrament of the church

Why are we hesitant to wash each other’s feet?

Is it connected to our thinking framework of master and slave

The Pure and the Impure

The Centre and the Margins

Why is it that we cannot see servanthood as the best expression of Love?

When Peter tried to stop him we note that in the conversation Jesus says And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

He knew about betrayal and what was to come after

Yet he loved to the extent of washing their feet

Love is an example set by Jesus.

Love as an expectation put forth by Jesus.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Love is here a commandment. It is not an option but a mandate.

The standards of that expectation is set by Jesus

Loving to the Last

Loving the Last, the Least and the Lost

Loving those the society cast out- Having the courage to say Tax Collectors and Sinners will be part of the kingdom. There is no one excluded unless one perhaps have the option to opt out (!)

Loving the ones who Betrayed, Denied and Deserted

Love that turned around and looked at Peter when the cock crew. Love that came by the closed doors and by their empty boats asking Children do you have anything to eat.

Loving the ones who plotted against, who did mockeries with trials, who violently crucified, who tested and tempted.

Love that found expression in the words- Father forgive them.

The only way the world will know that we are the Disciples of Christ is By Our Love

That’s why we sing

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that our unity will one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yeah they’ll know we are Christians by our love

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yeah, they’ll know we are Christians by our love

Vinod Victor

April 6, 2023

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