Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, with this evening mass on Holy Thursday we start the Paschal Triduum. That is, the three days before Easter Sunday. In these three days which are starting now, the reality/truth of our redemption becomes more central and compelling to us to think and put ourselves into the event of Christ’s sufferings, death and resurrection.
Every year on Holy Thursday the Church commemorates the sacred Supper. Others in simple language have called it the very first mass offered by Jesus in person and then commanded his disciples to continue doing the same.
This sacred meal reminds us of our focus to the heavenly Banquet where Jesus reigns in eternity and where our hearts desire to recline at the Lord’s eternal Table.
Today is the personal bonding of Jesus Christ with his disciples before his passion, and he gave them a series of commands.
- He commanded his disciples to serve with humility and he shows it by washing their feet. Dear brothers and sisters this is being repeated to us to learn to go down and serve other people. This is what discipleship and following Christ is all about.
- He commanded his disciples to love one another as he has loved them. In the gospel John tells us that Jesus loved his disciples to the end (v.1). To the end means, he had nothing else hidden to them but he has given everything up to including his life. This does not happen to us often but we sometimes love with reservation and conditions. Jesus loved them to the end and he commands us to love and love to the end.
- Jesus initiated the Holy Eucharist, he himself; and he commanded his disciples to do it in memory of him. Eucharist is Christ’s presence among us, is a precious divine gift of love. Let us love Jesus in the Eucharist, let us receive him with clean hearts. His enduring presence in the Eucharist is a blessing to us and to the Catholic Church. He makes us a community that is redeemed and loved. By commanding his disciples to do it in memory of him Jesus initiated the gift of priesthood. Thus, this day is special also for all priests who serve with humility and charity. Love them, appreciate and pray for them.
Finally, brothers and sisters, the Lord’s Supper is a community thing, builds us as a community. In the first reading Moses and Aaron are to tell the congregation of Israel to take a lamb according to their household and if a household is small to share it with their neighboring persons. This Lamb prefigured Christ the Lamb of God, the words we repeat in every mass; “This is the Lamb of God, this is Jesus Christ who takes away the sins of the world, blessed are those who take part in the Supper of the Lamb” are a reminder that this lamb is Jesus Christ. Eucharist is a sharing with love and in life. Pope Francis tells us “through the Eucharist we enter Christ’s paschal mystery, allowing us to pass from death to life with Him”.
Joy and Peace