What are the most important words of the Mass?
I suspect if I asked “What are the most important words of the Mass I would find a lot of people saying. “This is my body… This is my blood”
After all, Matthew, Mark, Luke and even Paul in I Corinthians have some variation…
For on the night he was betrayed he himself took bread, and giving you thanks he said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT OF IT: FOR THIS IS MY BODY WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.
In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took the chalice, and giving you thanks he said the blessing, and gave the chalice to his disciples, saying:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT: FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT; WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR MANY FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.
For some time now I am beginning to wonder whether we have become caught up in the words of consecration… and the role of the priest.
It seems that John may have been concerned about that. His is the only Gospel without the words of consecration. He does not use the words but sets the scene. He focuses on the action and Jesus explanation of why he says the action is important.
We all know that story! But do we understand the meaning?
After supper, he stood, took a towel and basin, then washed the feet of disciples, something a lowly servant did for his master. He became their servant.
Knowing that they did not understand him he pointedly asked them. “Do you understand what I have done?” And then he explained to them.
I, your Lord and Master (King?) have washed your feet. I want you to wash one another’s feet in love. For emphasis, he even added, “Do this in memory of me!”
These were not empty words. The next day he showed that he meant it when he suffered and died to show us God’s love. He wants us to focus on action… everyday action.
This is what he wants us to do… all of us… wash one another’s feet
Not focus on the role of the priest… but on a command to each of us.
I suggest we pay more attention to the command of Jesus Do this… in memory of me and what I have done for you.
In this spirit, I suggest a Eucharistic examination of conscience whenever we hear the words “Do This in memory of me.”
When and how have I wash the feet of my brothers and sisters … whether by blood or common humanity, whether they look like me or not, whether they have earned my love or not.
Let’s actually do what Jesus asked us to do.