Today is Holy Thursday and the readings remind us of what we celebrate today. The First Reading reminds us of God’s deliverance of his people from slavery. But this deliverance did not come without a price. It came with the death of the lamb AND the death of the Egyptians. The lamb had to be slain so its blood can cover the doorposts of their homes. But what about the Egyptians? Why did their firstborn have to die? God must be cruel. When we look at how this came about, we see that God has repeatedly given Pharaoh ten times to let the Israelites go. But Pharaoh refused ten times. By refusing, Pharaoh rejected God and this rejection results in God withdrawing his protection from Pharaoh. The more Pharaoh refused, the worse the plagues that came. This is what happens when we reject God.
When we reject God, he withdraws his protection from us so we are left to fend on our own. Why would God do this? He does this precisely because of his love. True love cannot be coerced. We cannot force someone to love us. True love respects free will. So when God withdraws himself, he does so out of love for us and respect for our free will.
Jesus shows this in the Gospel today. When he was washing the feet of the Apostles. Peter told Jesus You will never wash my feet. To which, Jesus replied, Unless I wash you, you have no share with me. Yes, God is love. God is merciful. BUT WE NEED TO LET HIM SHOW US HIS MERCY! God will not save us without our permission. Peter had to let Jesus wash his feet so he can have a share with Jesus. We need to let Jesus wash us so we can have a share of him. Once we have Jesus wash us, there is no guarantee of salvation because Jesus said you are clean, though not all of you. Jesus said this because he knew someone whom he had washed was going to betray him. The commitment to Jesus is not a one time thing. There is no such thing as once saved, always saved. We need to continue to submit to Jesus all our lives. This submission to Jesus is manifested when we come and receive his Body and Blood in Communion.
Many people today, think that receiving Holy Communion is a right. BUT communion is not a right. It is a privilege that God gives us. And when I receive Holy Communion in a state of sin, I make my condition worse because I are telling God that I know what I want, I do what I want. When I am in a state of sin, my soul is injured, in fact, it is dead before God. And no matter how much medicine is given, it will not have any effect on my soul. We do not give medicine to a corpse, similarly, we do not give communion to someone whose soul is dead, because their soul has no capacity to receive grace. They have blocked God’s grace by their sins and their soul has lost its ability to receive God’s grace.
The only right we have when we are in a state of sin is when we come to God and repent of our sin. Jesus said to St Faustina twice, the greater the sinner, the greater his right to my mercy. This is the only right we have when we live in sin.
Communion is THE remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus. St Paul says in the Second Reading: as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. When we receive communion, we proclaim the death of Jesus. We proclaim the salvation he has won for us and we look towards the fulfillment of that salvation when he comes. If we are in a state of sin, we cannot be saved until we repent.
The Gospel today speaks of Jesus serving his Apostles. Jesus cannot serve us, wash us clean if we will not allow him. If we do not come to him and turn away from our sins, Jesus cannot serve us. He died for us. His blood frees us. But if we do not accept his gift, his death is of no use for us.
The Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, is a call to come to Jesus and receive the salvation he has given us. If you are living in sin, remember that Jesus died for you and wants to set you free. BUT you need to allow him to do this. There is nothing you have to do but to come to Jesus and let him serve you so you can receive his salvation.
Lord, I come to you, repenting of my sins. I welcome you to my life. I allow you to serve me, to wash me clean. Let me continue to live my life for you Lord.