Returning the Favor — Holy Thursday Homily

St. Augustine wrote a famous reflection on Proverbs 23:1 :

“If you sit down to eat at the table of a ruler,
observe carefully what is set before you.”

Why? Because you will be expected to provide the same kind of meal for him. This proverb is a practical tip of worldly wisdom, but St. Augustine goes deeper; what is its spiritual meaning for the Christian?

Who is our ruler?  It is Jesus our Lord.
Where is his table? It is here, his altar.
Now carefully observe the food he sets before us: it is the Eucharist, his very self.

Jesus, like others in the ancient world, reclined at table.Jesus calls us to prepare the same kind of meal for him. He says, “This is my body, given up for you. Do this in memory of me.” We must make a gift of ourselves by living our lives for him, and we are to serve him in others for he tells us, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

After washing his disciples feet at the Last Supper where he institutes the Eucharist, Jesus says to his disciples, and to us: “Do you realize what I have done for you? … I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.

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