Holy Thursday – Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
April 9, 2020
Ps 116:12-13, 15-18
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
Jesus said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
Holy Thursday is one of the most holy day, on this day because it was the last day of Jesus public life on this earth. It was a day to say good bye to the World and his family , which he lived for 33 years. Just before the time of his death , he makes a Will written in his blood to the Whole World and deposits it with his close followers called Apostles. This Will is called Eucharist. Eucharist is nothing but a promise of eternal life for those who believe in him , more precisely consuming his body and blood in the Sacrament of Eucharist.
To understand Eucharist , we must understand the purpose of Sacrament. To explain sacraments in our normal life , we use some material which was used of the principal event to commemorate that event which has been passed by in our life. It can be instructions , place, objects , photos, signs, symbols to remember those past events in our life. For example we keep the Photographs , objects of our loved once and recall their memory specially on their anniversaries , birthdays or death days , I have seen some people weep for these people on those Anniversaries just like they have died some time ago . All the past memories come alive and they get connected in mind and spirit. If we see Sacraments in human eyes , they do not make sense or child play but if we see them in eyes of faith , they mean real to us . Jesus instituted a communication system between man and God through Sacraments. The sacraments are remotes of those virtual communication signal between Man and God.
Jesus deposited his treasure of eternal life through his Will of Eucharist on Last Supper. When we Commemorate this institution and part take in the same liturgy of his institution in the Eucharist. We virtually join with him in Heaven, this is the reason we say during the Mass , the Earth joins Heaven. The breaking of the Bread was a sign of his presence on this Earth. The Early Christians used to break the bread during their meals because the tradition of breaking bread was taken from Jewish Meal of thanksgiving , Jesus joins the old tradition of thanksgiving meal of Creation , Passover meal of Israelite’s and Last Supper of his New Covenant of his Body and Blood and institutes the Sacrament Holy Eucharist.
The Last Supper can be eaten in our own families with breaking of the Bread and thanksgiving , we must do this in remembrance of the Last Supper as we are not able to physically attend the Mass as a Community in extension to the live streaming of the liturgy with spiritual Communion in faith. The Canon Law permits all Baptized Christians to perform Sacraments when there is life in danger. We are in a life in danger like situation where People are dying without Confession, Communion or Sacrament of last rite , our Baptized nurses and medical professionals who are serving these Patients can become the ministers of Eucharist, reconciliation and last rites.
Holy Eucharist is more than a Sacrament or center of all devotions because the purpose of Jesus coming on this Earth was achieved in this Paschal Sacrifice. The whole years readings including Christmas, all liturgies , Novenas , retreats are a preparation for the Master Liturgy of Easter Triduum or the Triduum of Holy Week. There is no holy event than these three days on this Earth where the Whole World was recreated in Jesus Christ.When we celebrate this Event of Salvation, Jesus becomes real in our life, ministering us in our life and inviting us to enter in his holiness. The transformation must happen in any one of the area of our life as a sign of this encounter, otherwise this event of Salvation merely remains only a passing by event like any other Worldly events and we miss the purpose of Salvation in our lives.
Last Supper basically a day of ultimate love and Sacrifice. Where there is love, there is sacrifice. The definition of love is giving and forgiving or emptying oneself to the point of death. In today’s reading Jesus becomes the model of that love and instructed his followers to imitate him. Jesus did this in Words and action and asked us to do in words and actions. If we celebrate the liturgy of the Word of God and do not share , forgive or give, then our liturgy does not have any meaning in our life. Judas also celebrated this liturgy with Jesus with evil in his heart but ended in to despair and hopelessness. Friends let us grow in our spiritual encounter , let us not do for the sake of doing but do it in love and sacrifice. The only condition to encounter our Lord is to be Holy.
Holy Eucharist cleanses us from Venial sins , so if anyone who has not confessed their sins , at the beginning of Mass , there is a examination of Conscience with a prayer for Mercy and Priest gives General Absolution saying : May the Lord, have mercy on us and forgive our sins, to prepare our hearts to receive the Lord in holiness and gives strength to the Mortal Sinner to repent his Sins.