We all know what Judas did. Therefore when Judas left Jesus began to get ready for His death. Like a last will and testament, He instructed His Apostles on what was most important.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another.” When we think about our last will and testament we usually think about the money, the house, the property. Jesus placed importance on relationships. The way we treat each other speaks louder than any prayer that we say. In loving one another, especially the least among us, we are loving God. One of the best ways to show love is by service. Our Lord set the example when He washed the feet of His Apostles. The Master assumed the role of a slave. For the most part, we take care of our own feet. But once in awhile a nice foot massage makes us feel good—whether we pay for it or offered by someone who loves us. Yet, we would never assume that your Pastor, the Bishop or the Pope would get on the floor and pay attention to our feet. Jesus led the way. He wasn’t big on titles, prestige, or riches. Jesus showed us what perfect love is about—giving one’s life for one’s friends, expecting nothing in return. That’s exactly what happened. Jesus was left alone, abandoned by those He loved most. They were slow learners. The Apostles did not understand why Jesus loved them. They knew that they were not worthy, not smart, not even faithful. The Apostles were so preoccupied with their own agenda that they did not listen. Guilt from the past, worries about their families, their fear about the future caused them to tune out what Jesus was trying desperately to communicate. Not until after the death and resurrection did the words of Jesus make sense. Because after Jesus died and came back the little light turned on. Jesus kept His promise. The Apostles realized that He really did love them, without conditions. That’s why He died, that’s why He returned, that’s why the Lord is still with us today—because He loves us.
The Eucharist is the perfect example of total gift. We send pictures, cards, texts. Jesus sends Himself. Holy Communion is the real presence of Christ—just like when the Apostles saw Him face to face. Yet in the Sacrament He looks like bread and wine. We have the privilege to eat and to drink our Lord. The Savior of the world who was present with the Father before time began makes Himself vulnerable in our hands.
We congratulate the children who will receive the Eucharist for the first time during this Holy Mass. When the host is placed upon your tongue or your hands, the priest says, “Body of Christ” and you say, “Amen”—which means “I believe”. In a simple word we declare our profession of faith. The Eucharist is not a make-believe, pretend, nice thing that Catholics do. The Eucharist is for real—the Body and Blood of Christ who makes Himself part of us. We eat Him and He allows Himself to be eaten. Unlike other nourishment that we take, which becomes part of our body, we become part of Him. We are supposed to look more like Christ, act like Him, love like Him. “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” That’s not easy when we are angry, when things don’t go the way we want, when folks reject us. The temptation is to fight back when we are offended. Can’t be like that for a Christian, for someone who takes Holy Communion. We fail and will continue to fail. But the goal is to be like Christ—our example of perfect love. Washing dishes, cleaning our room, not yelling at our parents—simple, every day stuff can make a difference.
One commandment—not 613, not 10, not long prayers to memorize—just one commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.”