John 1:14

Holy Thursday: Mass of the Lord’s Supper 2014

Filed under: Blog — admin at 10:09 am on Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday 2014


We know who we are by our past. Our homes have pictures of our relatives and children. We pass on simple practices that we have learned from our parents and grandparents, and even if they may seem old-fashioned or  silly to the young, we still carry them out because they are events or actions that remind us who we are and what we are about. They become more important as we get older.

St. Paul reminds us of that very human practice tonight. He does not create something new or change something that is old.  He passes on what he received. He serves as a link in a long chain that leads us all the way back to the upper Room, back to Jesus and his Apostles. Because of our baptism, we are links in that chain as well. We become links to Christ, forged in the fire of his love for the Father and the human race that leads him to the cross. We are connected to each other through our bond in the Holy Spirit which makes us members of His Church. We are then sent to into the world, starving for love, not only to give our lives, but to give the very life of Jesus Christ himself. That is what we remember tonight and pass on to others.

This Mass of the Lord’s Supper commemorates and makes truly real three actions of Jesus Christ. The first is Institution of the Holy Eucharist. This is such a beautiful and profound gift in which the Word becomes flesh so that not only could we walk with God, but that God might truly be our food and drink, our consolation and our strength, our hope and reconciliation. He dwells in us. He comes into our bodies and souls in such a way that he nourished us from within by uniting himself with us so that we are able to live a selfless love in a selfish world. The Sacrifice that Jesus will offer on the cross tomorrow out of love for us is given now to feed us on this long and winding journey of life. He so utterly humbles himself that he makes himself vulnerable to us. We hold him in our hands. We receive him on our tongues. We are touched by God himself in such a way that God does not change, but we do.

The second action of Jesus is the Institution of the Ordained Priesthood. Jesus humbles himself and washes the feet of his disciples. He is giving the Apostles one final lesson before his betrayal and death. To wash someone’s feet is a sign of hospitality, mercy and solidarity. He chooses these men to carry on what he began. The Priesthood is a sacrament of hospitality in that priests are entrusted with the care for the travelers on the way through life by giving them the Eucharist, forgiving their sins, and reminding of God’s perfect love for them. Priests are also instruments of God’s mercy by offering the Word of God and seeking to bring back those who have fallen along the way. The priest is also a minister of solidarity because we deal with the dirty feet of people’s life. He accompanies them in the messiness of life. The trials and troubles, the broken hearts and shattered hopes, taking them by the hand and bringing them, if not carrying them to the cross, begging God to make them whole and restore them to a full life in him.

The third action of Jesus on this Holy Thursday is his command to love one another as he loves us. Notice that I said as he LOVES us. He did not just love us and leave us. He loves us now. He is with us now. He is REAL now. The command for all of us is that we take the love we have received and give it to others freely, willingly and selflessly. As I have said many times. WE can only go to heaven together. We go to hell all by ourselves. That love of Christ that we see on the cross tomorrow is what we give to our friends and families, our enemies and those we meet every day.

In a world that has become selfishly turned inward, Jesus commands us to turn outward- to reconcile with those who have hurt us, to seek forgiveness from those we have harmed, to help those left to the side know that the love of Jesus is not just some myth or good feeling, but an action aimed at making us who God created us to be.  As we spend some time in Vigil with the Lord and he prepares to undergo his Passion, may we ponder it in our heart like the Virgin Mary, so we can seek to unite another link to the Body of Christ by handing on our heritage to the next generation and to all we meet..

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