Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


"Jesus’ Way is a Way of Service"
Homily for Holy Thursday
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
April 5th, 2012
Year B


Do you remember Lucy Pevensie, the youngest of the children in C.S. Lewis’ famous work, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? She was the one who discovered the secret entryway to Narnia through the wardrobe in the spare room. She showed her siblings to this majestic land. But upon their arrival Narnia was on the brink of war between the White Witch and Aslan. Just before the great battle, Father Christmas makes a visit to the children; a sign that the Witch’s power was coming to an end and that Christmas was near. Naturally, he gave them Christmas gifts, their weapons for war. A sword for Peter and a bow and arrow for Susan but Lucy’s gift was something of a different sort. It was a simple diamond bottle of wild flower juice. Father Christmas had told her that this juice could cure any natural wound. When her brother Edmund was dying after the battle, she gave him a tiny, seemingly insignificant amount of this miracle juice and it saved him. She then proceeded to administer this juice to all the wounded and as many as simply tasted it, were healed. Following the storyline, Lucy could not have realized the full extent of the wild flower juice’s power. She could not have realized the power that Father Christmas had given her. It would be in the midst of the battle, while dispensing the juice to the wounded does she understand its power.

There is a very profound connection between the character of Lucy Pevensie and her juice to the ministerial priesthood and the power of the Eucharist. Father Christmas chose to give Lucy this power medicine. He gave it to her that she might in turn give it to those wounded in battle, those in need of healing. At His Last Supper, Jesus gave to us the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist – His very Body and Blood – as spiritual food, as a remedy for sin, as means of becoming one with Him. He chose to give the Apostles the power to administer the Sacrament of the Eucharist but also to make present His Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine. For what purpose does He do so? Jesus, like Father Christmas, knows in advance that there will be wounded. In the spiritual battle between good and evil, life and death, our souls will be struck and we will need a remedy, we will need healing and forgiveness. This is the divine gift of both the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Eucharist. We often call Our Lord the Divine Physician, in this way, by giving the gifts of these sacraments, He indeed proves Himself to be just that. 

There is no way that Peter could have ever grasped what was happening at this moment in John’s Gospel. Jesus even asks them: “do you realize what has been for you?” Like Lucy, who didn’t realize the power of the wild flower juice until she was in the throws of battle, it would not be until after the Resurrection that Peter and the others realize what exactly has been done. And what exactly is it that Jesus has done? By washing the feet of the disciples he has left them an example. He was stating in a simple and symbolic way that Jesus’ way is a way of service. This service, His service, consists in giving His life as ransom for many. His whole life, therefore, is an example of service to the point of giving up of Himself entirely – giving Himself over to death for those wounded by sin in order to set them free.

“I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” Our lives then, must imitate the service of the master. We have to give of ourselves in the same way that Christ gave of Himself – with the complete generosity of our hearts. In His words and gestures at the Last Supper, Jesus not only gives us the Sacraments of Holy Orders and the Eucharist but in and through them He calls us to serve Him and His people. To offer to those spiritually wounded the only remedy that will heal them – Christ Himself. Ultimately, this service entails sacrifice and embraces suffering because this is the mark of the Christian. Christ offered Himself and He calls us to do the same. We are called, in each of our vocations, to be Christ for others. We are called to lay down our lives for the spiritually wounded. Our service then, has redeeming value. This is what is meant by the concept of redemptive suffering. It is humbly placing ourselves at the service of our Master. It is imitating His self-giving love by giving Him our love in return.
What has Jesus done? He has not only left us a model to follow. He has told us, in and through His words and gestures on this most holy night, that His love and His service are intimately bound up in the Eucharist. Speaking on the Institution Narrative in the second volume of his book Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict reminds us that “caritas” – care for one another – is not some separate aspect of Christianity apart from worship, rather is intimately linked to it and forms part of it. Thus the vertical and the horizontal – our relationship with God and with each other – are inseparably linked in the Eucharist.

While C.S. Lewis made a great connection to the Eucharist with the fictional medicine of wild flower juice, this healing remedy, this agent of forgiveness is for us our spiritual nourishment, our food for the journey. Therefore, whether our service to Christ is confined within the walls of the enclosure or engages the outside world, nonetheless, it is joined to Christ’s complete gift of self in the Eucharist. Our service then, is also the gift of ourselves to Him from the generosity of our hearts and in total love.





Fr. Jon Reardon


Rev. Jonathan L. Reardon is a priest for the diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
He serves at Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield, MA.




See other homilies of Fr. Jon Reardon...
Return to multimedia home...


SCTJM logo
Return to main page