Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan
Today is Holy Thursday, the day when our Lord Jesus Christ enters the upper room, washes the feet of His disciples, and establishes the sacrament of Holy Communion.
The Lord Jesus Christ sets an example of meekness and humility by kneeling before His disciples and washing their feet. He commands His disciples and all Christians to be humble in this proud and selfish world: "So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you." (John 13:14-15).
Then, the Lord Jesus Christ establishes the sacrament of Holy Communion by taking the bread, blessing it, breaking it, and giving it to His twelve disciples, saying: “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:26-28).
Through the Holy Eucharist, we unite with Christ, our life, hope, and resurrection. Holy Communion begins with Baptism, by which we are reborn and prepared for the communion of Christ's body and blood. Through baptism, the "image of God" in us is purified, making us Christlike, and the Eucharist brings us closer to the "likeness of God" and complete union with Christ, deifying us through grace, as beautifully described by St. Nersess Shnorhali: "We kiss love with our lips and taste with our mouth the one who feeds all and receive in our hearts and unite with Him in spirit and become gods, uniting with God by grace.”
Through baptism, we are cleansed of the original sin and are born again. The Holy Eucharist, like a nursing mother, feeds us with the Holy Spirit and enables us to participate in Christ's sacrificial love. Our weak human being partakes of the incorruptible and immortal divine essence.
Today, Lord Jesus Christ invites us to join Him at the table, knowing that we are weak and that we may betray, deny, or abandon Him. He wants us to be strengthened by the bread that became His Body and the wine that became His Blood so that we can continue our spiritual journey in this world with faithfulness to God. At the end of our journey, we will be at the Lord's table for the supper in the Kingdom of Heaven.