Skip to comments.HOMILIES PREACHED BY FATHER ALTIER ON HOLY THURSDAY IN 2004 AND 2005.
Posted on 04/11/2006 2:53:02 AM PDT by MILESJESU
He Gives Himself Entirely to Us
April 8, 2004 Holy Thursday Reading I (Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14) Reading II (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) Gospel (St. John 13:1-15)
Today we celebrate the feast on which the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood took place. It is also, therefore, the day on which Our Lord, exercising His priesthood, offered Himself as a sacrifice sacramentally.
He had not yet physically sacrificed Himself, that would take place the next day, but already in the Blessed Sacrament at the Last Supper He offered himself in a sacramental form under the forms of bread and wine so that He could give Himself to His disciples in the most intimate way.
April 8, 2004 Holy Thursday Reading I (Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14) Reading II (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) Gospel (St. John 13:1-15)
Today we celebrate the feast on which the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood took place. It is also, therefore, the day on which Our Lord, exercising His priesthood, offered Himself as a sacrifice sacramentally. He had not yet physically sacrificed Himself, that would take place the next day, but already in the Blessed Sacrament at the Last Supper He offered himself in a sacramental form under the forms of bread and wine so that He could give Himself to His disciples in the most intimate way.
But in order to demonstrate what it was that He was doing, He first washed their feet. This is something that they did not understand. Peter, of course, objected. You will never wash my feet, he said. But then Jesus said to him, If I do not wash your feet, you have no part of My inheritance. Now if we consider what this really means, remember that Our Lord Himself told us that He came into this world to serve and not to be served. Saint Paul says,
He took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. But even that was not enough to be able to understand what it was that He was doing because we recall that by Jewish law not even a slave could be forced to wash the feet of his master because that was considered beneath human dignity. Considering what they would have been walking through, wearing sandals and having no sanitation the way that we think of it with sewer systems and all the things underground, all of their things would have been above ground and their feet would have been pretty filthy. And absolutely no one could be required to wash the feet of someone else. So Our Lord, in order to demonstrate to His disciples the extent to which He was willing to go, lowered Himself and became less than a slave. He was willing to deny Himself in everything for the sake of those who would follow Him.
If we just consider what He does for us today, if it was not too much for Him to wash the feet of His disciples and make Himself lower than a slave, today He gives Himself to us in the form of a piece of bread. He is Almighty God, and He comes to us in a way that is so humble that unless He Himself had said it no one would believe it because, once again, it is lower than a slave. Yet He told us that we have to do the same. When we recognize what He has done for us, then He tells His disciples that they have to do the same, that we have to be willing to make ourselves less than everyone else, which He also said in other places. But if we understand it in its context, it makes perfect sense.
Recall that the two sacraments which are most closely aligned are the Eucharist and marriage; all of the symbolism is identical. And so what Jesus is requiring of Saint Peter and of the other apostles is that they had to receive the gift which Our Lord was giving, just as a married couple receives from one another the gift that is being given. When you think about it from the point of view of the giver, it is a beautiful gift but a very humble gift because it makes one completely vulnerable and places one completely at the service of the other because it is giving, not taking. But part of the gift that a married couple offers to one another is to receive the gift that the other is offering. So too with the Eucharist. If we are not willing to receive what Jesus is giving, if we try to take it instead of receive it (which is a purely selfish act, then), we have no part of Him. But if we can receive in love the gift which He gives in love, then we have part of His inheritance, then we are united, because we give ourselves to Him as a gift and we receive His gift of self to our own selves and then we become one. That is precisely what Our Lord desires for us.
But in order to become fully one, we have to give it all. We have to become less than a slave. A slave has to give to a certain point; and when the slave is giving, it is because he is being required to give. It is not that way with Christ; it must be a gift, not something which is required. So He tells us, when He says what is required, that we have to do the same but, once again, it cannot be under force; rather it must be freely chosen, freely given, and freely received to make ourselves completely vulnerable, to open ourselves entirely to Him. Of course, in order to do that, it means also placing ourselves at the service of others, precisely the thing He told us to do when He commanded us to love God and to love our neighbor. That is exactly what we have in the Blessed Sacrament, the example that Jesus continues to give us.
If He Who is God, He Who is Teacher and Master, is willing to do what a slave could not even be required to do, is willing to humble Himself so completely that He would give Himself to us in the form of a piece of bread so that we could actually receive Him into ourselves, then we have to look and say, Whats wrong with me that I am not willing to do the same? If God is willing to do this for me, why do I think it beneath my dignity to serve others? Why do I think it beneath my dignity to accept the ridicule of others? Why do I think it beneath my dignity to remain silent when people heap disgrace upon me? Why do I think it beneath my dignity to become a slave of Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother? That is what we need to look at. When we see that He has made Himself lower than a slave for us, that He came into this world and loved and gave Himself completely in love, what are we willing to do in return?
Again, when we look at marriage, it is not a 50-50 proposition; it is 100-100. Jesus gave one hundred percent. If we are really, really generous, maybe some of us are willing to give 60 70. That is not enough. For those of you who are married, imagine what that would be like. I love you with half of my being. I love you with three-quarters of myself. Im willing to give part of me to you. What would that do to your marriage? It would result in exactly the problem we have in marriage today: It would be a disaster.
Jesus gave it all. He continues to give it all, and He asks that we would do the same, to lower ourselves, to become less than a slave, but not in force in love so that we will die to ourselves and we will give ourselves to Him and to our brothers and sisters in a perfect act of love.
This text was transcribed from the audio recording with minimal editing.
March 24, 2005 Holy Thursday
Reading I (Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14) Reading II (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) Gospel (St. John 13:1-15)
Today as we celebrate this feast of the Lords Supper, we are reminded not only of the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist but also the institution of the sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ. It was at the Last Supper that Jesus made His disciples into priests, when He commanded them to continue to offer the sacrifice as He had done. Do this in memory of Me, He said.
Now we have to understand what that concept of the memorial is because we hear the same thing in the first reading from the Book of Exodus when God says to the people of Israel: This shall be an everlasting memorial for you. The memorial that Our Lord is speaking of does not mean In the future, remember back but rather it means Make it real. When the Jewish people celebrate the Passover, they are not remembering something that happened 3,500 years ago; they are in the Passover today. They are making it real. They are not making it happen again; they are making it happen still. That is exactly what happens with the Eucharist. It is an everlasting memorial; it continues. We do not just simply remember that Jesus died for us on the Cross 2,000 years ago, nor do we sacrifice Him again. He is being sacrificed still. It is a sacrifice which has never stopped, and it never will.
When we look, then, at what happened at the Last Supper, there are a couple of things that we have to see. First of all, in the Gospel reading we hear about Our Lord getting up from the supper and washing the feet of His disciples. Saint Peter objects to the Lord washing his feet, and we can understand why. According to Jewish law, not even a slave could be required to wash his masters feet because to wash the feet of somebody was considered to be beneath human dignity. No one could be forced to wash the feet of anyone, according to Jewish law. And so here is the Master Whom Saint Peter understood as and has already professed to be God and He is bending down to wash Peters feet, which not even a slave could be required to do. Peter, of course, recognized what was going on and said, Absolutely not. But Jesus tells him, If you do not allow this, then you will have no part of Me. Peter, then, being what he is, said, Well, then my hands and feet as well. Do it all! I want to be part of You completely. But he did not fully understand yet what the Lord was doing. Then when Jesus was finished, He said, What I have done, you also must do, because He had left an example for them.
Well, the example of washing the feet was something that was even less than what He was just about to do, because then He took the bread and wine, and He changed them into His own Body and Blood, into the fullness of His own Person. It is not merely flesh and blood, but it is the fullness the Body, the Blood, the Soul, and the Divinity of Jesus Christ truly present in the Eucharist under the forms of bread and wine. So if Peter thought that washing his feet was beneath the Lords dignity, how much greater an act of humility was it that He gave Himself to us in the form of a piece of bread so that we, the slaves that we are, are able to receive Jesus Christ, Who is God, into our own selves. Washing the feet seems pretty small by comparison.
Now if we look again even more closely at what happened at the Last Supper, it was after it had turned dark. For us, we would look at this and say, It was on Thursday night. That is not the way the Jewish people keep track of time. The day begins and ends for the Jewish people at sunset, not at midnight, but when the sun goes down. Therefore, at the moment when the sun went down on Thursday, Friday began for the Jewish people. It was dark at the Last Supper. Saint John even makes that point very clearly. At the moment that Judas received Holy Communion, and Satan entered his heart because he rejected Jesus in the Eucharist, he went out; and Saint John makes very clear that it was dark. It was night. The sun had gone down, not only physically in the world, but spiritually in the heart of Judas. It was dark. In other words, it was now Friday for the Jewish people, and the Lord at the Last Supper had just sacrificed Himself sacramentally. He had offered on Friday the sacrifice that He was going to offer physically later on Friday.
And so here at the Last Supper, in the form of a sacrament, Our Lord sacrificed Himself and gave Himself to His disciples to eat. Then later in the same day, He went to the Cross and He sacrificed Himself physically so that what happened at the Last Supper was now happening on the Cross. And what happened on the Cross has continued to happen everyday for the last 2,000 years, as Jesus continues to be sacrificed on the altar, as He continues to give Himself in a sacramental manner for us to be able to eat. He Who is Teacher and Master has made Himself less than a slave, bowing down to wash the feet of His own disciples, giving Himself to each one of us to be food for our souls under the form of bread and wine.
This is the greatest act of love that humanity has ever known. When we look at the humility of Jesus, we remember that humility and charity are completely united. The height of charity is equal to the depth of humility in a person. So when we see the greatest act of love, we should also see the greatest act of humility. They are one and the same. And Our Lord says to us, What I have done for you, you also must do. Not that any one of us will be able to change ourselves into bread and wine in order to be consumed, but rather that we are to give ourselves entirely to Him as He gives Himself to us, that we are to serve others as He has served us, that we are to be humble as He is humble, that we are to love as we have been loved, that what takes place in the Eucharist must find its fulfillment in the way that we live, to find the fullest expression in our lives not merely when we are in the chapel before the Lord but when we go out, when we are at home, when we are with friends, when we are out amongst the people. The charity that we receive must be lived. That is what Our Lord is asking of us, to continue the sacrifice (which it is everyday), but also to continue the sacrifice in our own individual day-to-day lives, so that what He has done we will continue to do.
*This text was transcribed from the audio recording with minimal editing.
FATHER ALTIER'S HOLY THURSDAY HOMILIES PING!
Dear Freepers in Christ,
I guess you all must be quite surprised that I have posted this Thread so soon. The Fact is that I do not plan on doinf any P.C. related work on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday at all.
Tomorrow, will be my last day on the P.C. till Holy Saturday morning. Therefore, I have posted this Thread today.
My Next Thread will be tomorrow on a Sermon preached by Father Altier for Good Friday a few years back.
Dear Freepers in Christ,
My Apologies for the following grammatical mistake.
"The Fact is that I do not plan on doinf any P.C. related work on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday at all".
It should have read as follows -- The Fact is that I do not plan on doing any P.C. related work on Maundy Thursday as well as on Good Friday.
I earnestly hope that you all enjoy these Homilies that I am posting.
Let me know.
These are just beautiful! Thank you so much for your hard work in posting them. They are a real blessing to us.
Many Thanks for your uplifting and positive message. Did you read the Homilies that I had posted for Palm Sunday.
I need to ask you a question with regard to my next thread. Father Altier has preached just one Homily on Good Friday in the last 5 years.
Is it ok if I go ahead and post it later on today ? Or Do you want me to post it tomorrow or the day after.
Let me know if you want me to wait, or whether you want me to go ahead with his Good Friday Homily that he had preached a few years ago.
My objective is to post as many Homilies on Threads as I can.
Fr. Altier bump
HOLY THURSDAY HOMILIES.
You should post the homilies whenever it is convenient for you to do so. You are performing a service for us, so your convenience is of primary importance.
Thanks again for your time and effort!
bttt for later reading
Thank you for your message. That is good to hear. I am posting yet another Homily -- this time for Good Friday.
You will like it a lot. It is just one Homily but it is extremely rich in its content.
BTW, I have made some major changes to my Public Profile Home Page as well as Links.
You are welcome to check them out whenever you can.
FR ALTIER BUMP
AWESOME HOLY THURSDAY HOMILIES
HOLY THURSDAY HOMILIES BUMP.
LAST SUPPER HOMILIES BUMP
If you would like to, You could link my Homilies preached by Father Altier for Holy Thursday and posted on a Thread by me yesterday to your Thread tomorrow that is "Catholic Caucus Readings for Holy Thursday 4-13-2006".