Tonight’s Liturgy takes us back in time to salvific moments—a commemoration of the Institution of Holy Eucharist (His precious body and blood to be our spiritual food), Institution of the New Commandment of Love exemplified through his washing of the feet of his disciples and the Institution of Priesthood through which He perpetuates sacramental grace to all of humanity.
We thank the Lord for His eternal presence with us in the Holy Eucharist and remind ourselves of His mandate in the Discourse on Bread of Life:
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelled in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
“Do this in remembrance of Me” is a command that the Lord gave His Apostles. And St. Paul himself speaks of this in the epistle appointed for tonight:
23For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-27)
We think of all our clergy, deacons, priests and bishops who have accepted this great calling of servitude. In our church, we have clergy who have served the Lord in His faithful for fifty or more years. May we never fail to recognize the responsibility and the accountability of this office.
We are miserable offenders who are constantly in need of purification and Divine forgiveness. St. Paul the Apostle reminds us:
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body (
2 Corinthians 7-10)
May we resolve to be faithful true shepherds after the heart of the Good Shepherd. May He find us still serving upon His coming. May we continue to celebrate the Catholic Faith and Orders that we have inherited through the Apostolic Succession and Anglican Tradition.