Forgive and You Will be Forgiven - Passover Lamb & Washing of Feet

(April 14, 2022)

Bottom line: Our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate Passover beginning tomorrow evening. Tonight we recognize Jesus as the Lamb whose blood takes away our sins.

Cuando mis amigos sacerdotes me preguntaron que querria para la cena celebrando mis cincuenta anyos de sacerdocio, respondi, costillas de cordero. Es una comida para saborear una o dos veces por año. Asi era para nuestros antepasados judios en la celebracion de la Pascua.

I think I told that when I gathered with members of my priest prayer group, they had a special meal for my fiftieth anniversary. Fr. Brad Hagelin, a young priest who is a great cook asked me what I would like. I responded, could you fix a rack of lamb? He could and it was one of the most delicious meals I've ever had. Lamb is something a person wants to savor maybe once or twice a year. That's the way it was with our Jewish forefathers. Every year they gather for the Passover meal described in the first reading:

"The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish...That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs."
Esa noche comeran la carne, asada a fuego; comeran panes sin levadura y hierbas amargas

The Gospel refers to Jesus and his disciples preparing for a Passover celebration. But the Gospels do not describe them eating an actual Passover Lamb. Instead during the meal, Jesus take a cup of wine and says:

This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me
Este caliz es la nueva alianza que se sella con mi sangre. Hagan esto en memoria mia siempre que beban de el

As we sang in the Responsorial Psalm:

Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ
Gracias, Senor, por tu sangre que nos lava

In each Mass way say that Jesus pours out his blood "for the forgiveness of sins"

Tonight's Gospel has an indirect reference to cleansing from evil. Jesus says to Peter:

Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over
El que se ha banyado no necesita lavarse mas que los pies, porque todo el esta limpio

One of my favorite memories is an evening when my niece Tonya brought a basin of water and knelt down before my mom, saying "Grandma, can I was your feet." Such relaxation and peace came over my mom's face. Tonya had studied nursing and she knew how restorative a food bath could be.

Jesus' washing represents a post-baptismal cleansing that a person can receive by the Sacrament of Reconciliation or by participating in the Eucharist. Tonight I will wash the feet of twelve members of our congregation. I've heard of fathers doing this for their wife and children. It's a lovely sign of what Jesus wants to do for us by his Blood and by the Holy Spirit.

Our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate Passover beginning tomorrow evening. Tonight we recognize Jesus as the Lamb whose blood takes away our sins.


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Other Homilies

From Archives (Good Friday Homilies):

2021: Major Reason People Lose Faith
2020: Why We Long to be Back Together
2019: Source of Mercy
2018: What is Truth?
2017: Three Responses to Innocent Suffering
2016: Source of Mercy
2015: The Truth About Everything
2014 : Conformed to the Cross
2013 : The Contrast of Judas and Peter
2012: The Newness of Jesus' Death
2011: Suffering Is Everything
2010: Do Not Waste Your Suffering
2009: He Learned Obedience
2008: According to Your Word
2007: He Took Our Suffering to Himself
2006: The Hour of Divine Mercy
2005: The Conversion of Barabbas
2004: Why Did Jesus Have to Die?
2003: The Host
2002: Testimony of Bishop Dolli
2001: Blood From His Side
2000: Vicarious Suffering
1999: Old Testament Fulfilled
1998: He took our place

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Kurt Nagel (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

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