Remembering Jesus Through Actions

By Kathy-Ann Gobin

DANBURY – Experiencing Christ’s healing love and His ministry of service to one another was embodied during the Holy Thursday Mass at St. Joseph Church in Danbury.

“We celebrate tonight the gift, the institution, of the Eucharist, which is our nourishment and our salvation by Jesus the Great High Priest, at the Last Supper,” said Pastor Fr. Samuel Scott as he welcomed all gathered to the evening Mass.

“At that First Eucharist, Jesus also washed the feet of his disciples as a sign of his healing love. Tonight’s commemoration is not a historical reenactment of that event,” Fr. Scott said, adding, “The feet of today’s disciples, in our community, our being washed in order for all to experience Christ’s healing love and as a sign of Christ’s ministry of service to one another.”

This year, the twelve people participating in the washing of the feet were educators, teachers, catechists and coaches.

The washing of the feet imitates the humility and selfless love of Jesus, who washed the feet of the Twelve Apostles at the Last Supper, the night before his Crucifixion.

“On this night, on this day of the year, Holy Thursday, we specifically remember Jesus’s actions and we hear how he instituted the Eucharist and gave us, his disciples, the commandment of fraternal charity and to exemplify what he meant by this commandment to, “Love one another as I have loved you,” Jesus, washes the feet of his disciples,” said Fr. Harry Prieto during his homily.

Fr. Prieto said Jesus did not discriminate and lived a life of service to all including the poor, the sick, sinners, people neglected or despised by society, to the oppressed and anyone in need who sought him. He said all of Jesus’ disciples should do the same.

“We are called to that kind of love and service and sometimes perhaps it will have to be done at great personal risk but that is the true test of a disciple of Jesus to follow the teacher to follow the master, in service to all offering everything of ourselves without reservation or hesitations and without any conditions,” Fr. Prieto said.

Following his homily, Fr. Prieto, assisted by Deacon Bill Timmel, washed the feet of twelve people seated at the altar.

“As Jesus’s modern-day disciples, we are called to extend the spirit of Jesus’ symbolic actions and the spirit of his presence among us,” said Fr. Prieto, adding that as Jesus’ disciples should work for the salvation of the world.

Fr. Prieto said this can be accomplished through forgiving grudges against family members, sincerely engaging with a homeless person who we may encounter or showing compassion or respect to those who may disagree with us.

“Jesus, the teacher, showed us that to lead, is to serve,” Fr. Prieto said, adding that we should imitate Jesus through genuine acts of service and compassion towards others. “Let us embrace the call to be humble servants and teachers of love, kindness and mercy, in such a way, that we may see Christ in all those we serve.”