Then he breathed on them and said,
“Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them.” (John 20)
This Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter, is observed throughout the Catholic Church as Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus forgave sinners. He died and rose from the dead to forgive sinners. He wanted that mission of proclaiming forgiveness to continue. So he empowered the church’s ministers, the apostles, bishops and priests to continue his mission of forgiveness and mercy.
Holy Thursday Poem
Here is the poem that I wrote and read as part of my Homily on Holy Thursday.
– Fr. Brian Hayes
Bread, Oil, Chrism, Feet
The Bread, Broken, Given; the oil, poured into the wounds of the sick;
The Sacred Chrism, consecrating us to God; the lowly feet: gently touched, washed, a sacred sign. The Lamb without blemish says to us:
“This is my body, which is for you.” My body, my wounds, my consecrated heart, and my feet. “Do this in memory of me.”
Bread, Oil, Chrism, Feet.
Jesus, the Christ, consecrated with the Holy Spirit; He washed Peter’s feet –
the one who later denied him.
“As I have done, so you must do.”
Priests. Consecrated to God.
With Chrism. Servants of the people. “Whoever wants to be the greatest among you
must serve the rest.”
The lay People, too Anointed with Chrism at Baptism, share in the priesthood of Christ. Holy Priests make Holy People. Holy People make Holy Priests.
“Until all my people are one.”
The Unleavened bread will become the Holy Eucharist.
“I hand on to you what I myself received.”
We break bread together as the Lord commands.
Daily, weekly. We must also wash each other’s feet daily… not just yearly.
Unwrap the mantle of our pride. Address their wounds, their hurt. “I’m sorry”;
“I hear you”; “I forgive you”; “I love you”; Oil that soothes the soul.
“Anoint the sick,” the Apostle James prescribes.
With the Oil of the Infirm. “When they are afraid, give them courage, when dejected, afford them hope.”
Before surgery or at the door of death… “I fear no evil, for you are at my side. “You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.”
In Christ’s wounds we are healed. In his dying, our sins are forgiven.
In his rising we have hope in our sufferings.
And so we anticipate the Heavenly banquet.
With Bread, Oil, Chrism, and Feet.
The Oil of the Catechumens.
We strengthen them to overcome temptation – with the power of Christ.
We prepare them for Baptism. Into what?
There is only Christ – He is everything. “As I have done, so you must do.” That’s the mandate… For all those preparing for Baptism and for all of us already baptized.
Serve, how? Feet washing – in Jesus’ time.
Today? Catechists for Adults, youth and children; Bereavement Ministers and Rosary Makers; Pancake Breakfast or Coffee and Donuts; Musicians, Ushers and Communion to the Homebound.
One Bread, One Body. Many minds, many gifts – Bible Study or Adult Faith Enrichment; Church Environment or Eucharistic Ministry.
Christ is the Way, but many the vehicles.
“What you do to the least of these, you do to me.”
One heart of Love, One Cup, One Lord. “As I have done, so you must do.”
“Not my feet!” Peter said.
Are we too proud to enter in? We need to wash away the dirt.
We need to heal; why keep the hurt?
I need the love you alone can give. We will die unless we eat.
And so we celebrate with Bread, Oil, Chrism, and Feet.
The Mass of the Lord’s Supper… Yes, a memorial feast for all generations;
A pilgrimage to the Lord; A perpetual institution.
Bread, Oil, and Chrism – what a feat!