Posted by: matt25 | April 9, 2009

Holy Thursday, The Lord’s Supper

Reading 1                     Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14

Responsorial Psalm   Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18

Reading II                    1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Gospel                         John 13:1-15

Tonight at last Lent is over, and the Three Days are begun! This evening begins the Triduum, which continues until Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday.  In a very real way… It is a single celebration lasting for 3 days

And we begin the Triduum with our Holy Thursday’s liturgy tonight which includes a number of special rituals….  We receive the holy oils blessed at the Chrism Mass during the entrance procession.  We will wash the feet of some of the parishioners as your representatives…  because the washing of feet is about the servant Church we are a part of here and now,… not just a nice story about Jesus from long ago.

The foot-washing leads us to Communion, and its first act is a procession with gifts for the poor, an ancient tradition which shows that we take our Lord’s Gospel mandate that we heard proclaimed tonight to heart.  “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

Finally this celebration of the Lord’s Supper will not conclude with a blessing, but rather with the transfer of the Holy Eucharist to the chapel for adoration.  And some of you will continue your celebration by participation in the ancient practice of visiting the Blessed Sacrament in 7 churches.

We do well to take a tip from our Jewish brothers and sisters who place the memorial of their sacred meal at the head of their calendar and during their celebration of the Passover a child will ask:

What makes this night different from all [other] nights?

Indeed… What does make this night different from all other nights?

Because today we celebrate in a very special way our most sacred meal.  We will sing the words … We Remember,  We Celebrate, We Believe!

We remember we celebrate and we believe… The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and everything we are about as the people of God is bound up with the Eucharist and is oriented toward it.

So tonight is not a time for much preaching…  It is a time for much praying.

A time to immerse ourselves in mystery… the mystery of “God here in hiding, whom we do adore.”‘

A time to immerse our whole selves… mind and imagination, heart and senses.

To see and listen, then finally to touch and taste.

To savor a unique presence of a unique Lord.

Let me, then, not so much preach at you as pray with you, as to marvel with you… as we remember and celebrate our sacred meal, an evening to remember and place at the head of our calendar…

Today a breath-taking event is taking place across the face of the earth.

Jesus Christ, hiding all that is divine in him, hiding all that is human,

rests himself on the tongue of a Polish miner…

and in the palm of an African man with AIDS;

touches the flesh of a Philippine farmer

and a French banker who needs help to eat at a nursing home;

graces the stone altar of a Russian cathedral…

and the crude wood of a Peruvian chapel;

comes to organ music in Baltimore’s Basilica…

and in stillness to a hospital bed in Phoenix.

And into our hearts no matter where we are.

From the rising of the sun to its setting, from North to South, a priest is holding a host before eyes rapt in adoration: “This is the Lamb of God…Happy are those who are called to his supper.” And the ends of the earth ring with one changeless response: “Lord, I am not worthy… But only say the word…”

Why? Why this endless supper, this solemn ritual that circles the globe?

The answer begins in Jesus and lives on in us.

“I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”


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