Did you hear about the new restaurant on the moon? The food was great, but the place has no atmosphere.”
For 2,000 years now Christians have been celebrating the Eucharist – breaking bread and passing the cup like Jesus did at the Passover Seder meal. And most of the time there was a wonderful atmosphere.
The first astronauts took wafers of bread and wine to the moon with them. Even though they were not priests or ministers or rabbis, they said a eucharistic prayer of thanksgiving. Then they shared the wafers of bread and the wine as Jesus did.
Christians have been celebrating the Eucharist for 2,000 years. For over 4,000 years before Jesus, Hebrews were celebrating a Passover meal. Why? This meal is our salvation. Moses took the blood of the lamb and smeared it on the doorpost and the first born of every household was saved.
In the reading from Corinthians we hear about the New Lamb, Jesus, who is sacrificed. Jesus says: “This is my body…This is my blood” and we are saved by him (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Our Gospel is most interesting (John 13:1-15). Jesus, the lamb about to be sacrificed, gathers at the table with his disciples. Jesus knew full well that what he was about to do would be repeated billions and billions of times throughout history.
So what does Jesus do? Jesus gets up from the table and washes feet. By doing so Jesus is teaching us what Eucharist and Christianity and priesthood are all about – getting down on the ground and washing smelly feet! It is surprising to me that Churches only do this once a year on Holy Thursday.
I’ve reflected many times how different my life and my priesthood would have been if I had gotten down thousands of times over the past 50 years and washed blistered feet, diabetic feet with missing toes, black and brown feet, the tiny feet of newborns and old and worn feet.
What a humbling experience it would have been for me. What a different view of life I would have seen down on the ground on my hands and knees looking at and washing feet.
What Jesus is showing us down on his hands and knees and washing feet is our brokenness. In everyday life we reject brokenness. We throw out a broken plate or glass.
In our spiritual life, brokenness is where you want to be, where you want to spend a lot of time. How did Jesus save us? Look at the cross – Jesus saved us through his brokenness.
How are you and I saved? By our brokenness. We often say, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Jesus says to us, “If you’re not broken, I can’t fix you!” “If you don’t admit to your brokenness, your sins and your addictions, I can’t save you!”
Until you and I feel our brokenness and admit to our brokenness, God can’t do very much with us. Who did Jesus spend most of his time with? Prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners – broken people. People who want to be saved.
Who are most of Jesus’ parables about? Prodigal sons and daughters, Pharisees and Publicans – Broken people. Only when we admit to our brokenness can Jesus save us.
It takes broken soil to produce crops.
It takes broken clouds to give us rain.
It takes broken grain to give us bread.
It takes broken bread to give us Jesus.
It takes a broken Jesus to give us salvation.
God loves us so much that God allows our brokenness to set us free through Jesus!!
Who might you help this Holy Thursday who is broken.
What brokenness inside you is Jesus trying to save?