At the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, Bishop Richard J. Malone washed the feet of twelve men, women and young people in front of the altar at St Joseph Cathedral.
Bishop Malone noted how, at the Last Supper, Jesus gave his disciples a model to follow by washing their feet and then sharing with them bread and wine that became his body and blood. "In both instances, he commanded his followers to go and do the same. The challenge of Holy Thursday is clear," said the bishop, "Come and be nourished, go and serve."
The Diocese of Buffalo has a wide array of outreach and ministries which Bishop Malone considers to be works of mercy. "Each of these examples of human service is a telling witness to the message of the Holy Thursday Liturgy." He reminded the congregation that to receive the Eucharist commits them to recognize and respond to Christ's presence in one another. "As we say 'Amen' when the body and blood of Christ is offered at Communion, so too we have to be ready to say 'Amen' to his presence in our sisters and brothers, especially those in need."
Bishop Malone cited the words of Pope Benedict in reminding all that the Eucharist is bread broken for the life of the world. "He wrote; 'In the Eucharist, Jesus makes us witnesses of God's compassion toward all our brothers and sisters. The Eucharistic mystery', he said,' gives rise to a service of charity toward our neighbor, which consists of the very fact that in God and with God, I love even the person who I do not like or even know."
The social implication of the Eucharist should take on urgency, according to Bishop Malone. "We come to recognize that there are thousands of people in Western New York, and millions around the world, for whom you and I, Christ's disciples, must be Christ's own hands reaching out in care and compassion. May this Eucharist that we receive and adore tonight impel us beyond ourselves in love, in mercy and in compassion."
The Holy Thursday Mass ended with the St. Joseph Cathedral Choir leading a solemn procession as Bishop Malone carried the Body of Christ to the Lady Chapel, where Adoration continued.