Thursday, April 2, 2015

Maundy Thursday: Our small steps of commitment and faith

Maundy Thursday is celebrated the world over as a time for Christians to come together and partake in the communion of the body and blood of Christ. People who have confessed their short comings and have taken the decision of being at peace with one another flock to church to receive the communion set in motion by our Lord Jesus Christ. But what is indeed the significance of this communion or the Holy Qurbana (o) in church?

Jesus commits to his disciples and says that he wanted to have this meal with them before he suffers and that he won’t do this again till the fulfillment of the Kingdom. He then says the formulaic sentence followed by many churches up till today and announces that he is giving them his body and blood as a sign of the new covenant between God and human beings. We are all under this new covenant of commitment that Jesus makes to us. It is a commitment to suffer for the cause of many and to fight for all. As we partake of the body and blood of Christ we are also coming under this covenant and commitment to do good. For that we have pursued a tough time of cleansing ourselves of all things which are anti Christ. Today we then come forward in that commitment that as God has made a covenant with us we also make a covenant with God that we will do what God seeks of us, which is to be Christ like.

What could be the good expected of us? Isaiah 58:6-9 offers us a splendid idea. “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.” We are bound to a commitment of doing specific things which are expected as part of our fast and commitment to God. It is a clear call to do good like Jesus chose to do. Fight injustice, let the oppressed go free, cover the naked, share our bread with the hungry and the Lord will hear our cry and say “Here I am.” Allowing the body and blood of Christ to work inside us is necessary as otherwise we only partake and nothing seemingly happens out of that. The wonderful opportunity to partake and to effect change brings about a true commitment from God to hear our cry and reply Here I am.

The partaking of the body and blood of Christ makes us enter into covenant with God and gives us the unique opportunity to be co-workers in God’s kingdom. The partaking is not a simple act of dealing with our short comings and coming forward to accept communion but steps of commitment and faith saying that I will heed to the wish of God to correct injustices in society and open my life to the poor and let the oppressed go free. Those small steps towards communion that we take are big steps of a commitment that I will contribute my bit to change the world that I live in. What a beautiful thought it is and what a wonderful commitment we share. Amen.

Praise to Thee, O Lord, To Thy Father Praise,
Worship, glory be To the Holy Ghost.
Grace and mercy be on us sinners all,
Opened be to us Zion’s gates above
May our pleas be heard at the throne of Christ.
Praise to Thee, O Lord, Praise to Thee, O Lord,
Ever praise to Thee, Our hope. God bless.

(Excerpts from a sermon preached in St. Ignatius JSO Church, K.R. Puram, Bangalore during Pesaha service yesterday night.)
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