A new command I give ye .... 1 Cor 11:23-26
John 13:1-15

As I Have Done to You

"Do you know what I have done to you?"

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

We have come to Maundy Thursday, so named for Mandatum, the commandment we receive on this day: "A new command I give ye: that ye love each other." Who else would bathe us and feed us and heal us and teach us and forgive us and pour never-ending cares and tears and prayers out for us ..... though we never paid them any mind? Are not these the unmistakable marks of a Mother & Father's love? For whom else could these sacrifices be possible?! We receive a new command and then make a basic and startling discovery: God is our Father, Abba, kneeling at our bath. And the Ecclesia He has gathered is our Mother, who will never fail us. She will birth us at our Baptism, school us before Confirmation, prepare us for our wedding day, and bury us with holy ministrations and tears.

Our culture tells us that it is only natural that we should take our most intimate and vulnerable conceptions of love, even the unconditional love of our mothers and fathers, and then project them on to our conception of God and religion. But I think they have it backwards, for our culture knows very little about God and stopped reading the Holy Scriptures a long time ago. Hear what Jesus has to say about family values. It will surprise many who believe that they understand Christianity:

"He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me;
and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; ..." (Mt 10:37)

"Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?" And stretching out his
hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brethren!
For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and
sister, and mother." (Mt 12:49-50)

"Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake ... who will not receive
a hundredfold now ... and in the age to come." (Mk 10:29-30)
No, our life in Christ does not ride on the coattails of family feeling. Rather, the opposite is true. You see, earth & home and Mother-Father love have formed our hearts and souls so that they might become sufficiently tender and loving to start us down the path of understanding Heaven and God's love for us. Mind you, Jesus is not depreciating family life. In fact, He holds it up as the highest love on earth and then points beyond it to still a higher love. After all, He made the earth so that we might share His kind of love in Heaven, and He prepared our hearts as children to prize what He prizes most.

But a priest's words should not go on and on on Maundy Thursday and give way to the Maundy — the work of the hands befitting a father or a mother.