Lenten Meditation – Maundy Thursday – “Do This in Memory of Me”

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Maundy Thursday

“Do This in Memory of Me”

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez

In the religious experience of the Latin American people, Holy Week has a privileged place, yet has increasingly lost more ground to people taking days of rest or vacation, opting to reserve these days to enjoy themselves on the beach with the family.  On the other hand, Holy Week still retains all of the experiences of suffering and accompaniment of Jesus on his way to the central mystery of our faith: “Passion, Death and Resurrection.”  There is that intangible something about the approach of the suffering and the cross, which combines almost seamlessly with how our Latin American continent suffered life.

My theological training has been greatly impacted by the work and reflections of Edward Schillebeeckx, a Belgian theologian, who was requested to travel to Rome to explain one of his major works “Jesus, An Experiment In Christology.”  The Vatican wanted him to answer only one question, “Was your idea to write a new Gospel?”  Schillebeeckx replied, “Quidquid recipitur ad modo recipientis recipitur.”  (What is received, is received to the mode of the container).  He explained that it was his intention to communicate his experience, his Christology and its way of relating to and with Jesus.  One of the main themes of Schillebeeckx’s theological thought was that while the first followers of Jesus left us stories of their experience, their experience with the Messiah, these same stories are still used to create the current followers of Jesus.  I believe that we are called to write, precisely what he proposed, our Gospel, our vision and spirituality in accordance with the Jesus whom we follow.

Holy Thursday reminds us of the memorial of the last supper, which we celebrate and remember each week when we gather and worship in each of our local communities.  We proclaim that it is central to our being UFMCC.  The celebration of the memory of this day, with our eyes steadfast on Easter Sunday, is the crucified and risen Christ, to whom we remember in our act of holding the table open, so that all are welcome to participate.  We recall that the Gospel offers us the healthy practice of Jesus sharing meals with his friends and disciples.  At MCC, we recover this privileged sign of common-Union, which on the one hand reminds us of the sacrament that Jesus performed, as it also commits us to remain responsive and always ready to welcome all, especially those who want to participate in the approach to the Altar of Jesus Christ.

(Image credit: stgeorgesdayton.org)
(Image credit: stgeorgesdayton.org)

We, the men and women of MCC, are stories of God.  We have to write in our lives and communities, our experience and contemporary spirituality.   We must commit ourselves to continue to carry forward the liberating message, the mandate of the fully inclusive love.  We are called to transform ourselves as we transform the world with the message of the new gospel that we are called to write with our lives, our testimonials, our efforts, our projects and our faith.

This Maundy Thursday, we have the opportunity to renew our response to the call that God has for us, to be fearless in participating in your table.   Let’s be daring to accept the invitation, but above all, let us move forward courageously with the invitation of Jesus to have him in our lives, to present the good news in our interactions with others, to be the presence of the Christ in the world today.

I want to devote a few words to the election of the Pope Francisco:
As a Latin American, I have to admit the shy pride I feel that finally the Eurocentrism gave space to the booming and believing Latin American people.  We can now say the Post-Christian Europe is a field of mission, as the cardinals have chosen a Latin American to the see of Peter.  I was moved when the new Pope expressed to journalists “how [he] would like to have a poor Church for the poor people!”  This shows the issue of poverty is clearly linked to social justice in Latin American, in both Medellin and Puebla.  Without a doubt, as Pope, Bergoglio faces questions as the non-healed wound of the collaboration of the Church in a few calls for justice against Latin American dictatorships.  On the other hand, it is also clear that many of the problems that exist today in Catholicism cannot be solved quickly.  And there are other challenges that the Church will be facing.   The questions in the beginning of the pontificate of Pope Francisco are: “Will you be able to make urgent reforms?  Will you be able to let yourself be guided by the wind of the Spirit?”