“I desire to be one with You: Meditations on Thursday of Holy Pascha”

April 13, 2023

In the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit one God, Amen.


Covenant Thursday

Today really is a day filled with a tremendous amount of mystery. Today, as we look at the events unfold, we see Christ doing several things all on behalf of humanity. Everything He does today is “for us and for our salvation,” as we say in the creed. My beloved, today we see how the Lord institutes that mystical supper where He gathers His disciples for the feast. And as He breaks bread with them, as He shares a meal of the Passover with them, as He is celebrating with them. He breaks the bread and He offers it to them saying, “Take eat of it all of you, for this is My Body. And then He offers the cup that is filled with water and wine, and He tells them, “Take, drink of it all of you, for this is My Blood.” He had previously told them and spoken to the public about being the Bread of Life, and about how their forefathers ate the manna that came from heaven, but they died in the wilderness. He proclaimed then that whoever eats this Bread of Life, which is His Body, will live eternally. He institutes this mystical supper and He offers Himself in a way that they can accept, the same way that our forefathers, Adam and Eve, were deceived and fell away into sin through the process of eating the fruit of the Tree. The Lord chooses the same method, the process of eating, of union, by taking it into oneself, to be the very source of life that we need to restore us from the state of death that we are in. He institutes this mystical supper and this is the same day, the same moment that we all participate in during every liturgy.

Do not make the mistake of thinking, my beloved, that every time we pray a liturgy, it is a new liturgy. Don’t think that because two churches in the same city or several churches in the same city are praying at the same time, that there are multiple liturgies happening. It is always that moment that we are living in; we are mystically participating in that never-ending moment: Covenant Thursday. It is always Him who presides, always Him who breaks, always Him who says the words. It is always Him who offers us His Body and Blood. We are sitting at that very table; we are sitting with Him and His disciples, and we are participating in that Life-giving Flesh, His Body, and His Blood that He offered to His disciples. It is the very same that is offered to us every liturgy, and He does this “for the life of the world” as we say in the Institution Narrative of the liturgy of St. Basil. “He was determined to give Himself up to death.” Why? For the life of the world. This is His way of making us one with Him. This is His way of implanting life in us, placing Himself in us so that He can become the very antidote to the death that has overtaken us.

We see Him after that supper, gird himself and go on His knees and demand that His disciples’ feet be washed by Him. Now, Peter, in humility, approaches Him and says, “Lord, how is it that you will be the One to wash my feet?” And Peter, humbly, is trying to say, “It is us who should be washing Your feet. We just saw yesterday how Mary washed Your feet, how that woman sat at your feet and washed them and dried them with her hair. It is us who should be doing this to you, not the other way around.” But the Lord, again, points to something that is much greater, to a mystical cleansing when we allow Him to wash us. The Lord tells Him, “Unless I wash you, Peter, then you have no part in Me.”

Lord, we want to have a part in You. We want to be Yours. We want to learn from You. We want to be able to see that You want us to be like You, that the Master is the One who serves, the One who humbles, the One who offers Himself entirely, who always performs this act of self-emptying in all that He does. Lord, we learn from You. You show us what it means to be truly human, and so we come to You and say the same words as Peter, “Lord, if it is about having union with you and being able to partake of you, then Lord, not only my feet should you wash, but my hands, head and all of me. Wash all of me, O Lord.” Truly, this was the very prayer that the Lord prayed on this eve in the garden of Gethsemane before His final arrest. As He was speaking to the Father, He spoke these words and said, “Just as We are One, let them also be one. Let them be one in Me, let them be one in Us, that they may all be one just as We are One.” This is the desire of His heart: unity, true unity. Unity among men and unity between God and humanity. This is what we are created to be, my beloved, to be partakers of the divine nature, to be one in Him, to participate in the life of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and that through Him, we might be able to get a taste of the All-Holy Trinity, to have life with God and life in God.

This is what we see Him do today. He offers Himself so that He may be in us, so that we may be one in Him. He cleanses us, He washes us and He tells us, “Let me wash you so that you can have a part in Me.” We learn from Him. We want to be like Him, truly created in His image and likeness. Union with God: how beautiful is that, my beloved? How beautiful is it for us to see our Lord do all that He must for us to be one in Him?

Let us come to Him today, let us offer our hearts to Him and let us go to Him and say a humble prayer. Let us declare to Him, “Lord, we truly want to be one with You. We want to offer ourselves to You as You have offered Yourself to us. We come to You and ask You to wash us and cleanse us, so that we may have a part in You. Cleanse us, O Lord, make us like You. Make us one with You.

To God be all glory, now and forever and unto the ages of all ages, Amen.


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