HOLY THURSDAY: Jesus’ Last Supper
Posted by FactReal on April 21, 2011
|Commemorating the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus
Holy Week (or Semana Santa in Spanish) is the period between Palm Sunday and the great festival of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. After Palm Sunday, the next important day of Holy Week is Holy Thursday when the commemoration of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus starts.
|THE FIRST PASSOVER
“Tonight begins the most important liturgy of the year, the Paschal Triduum, which in truth lasts for three days: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and finally the Easter Vigil on the evening of Holy Saturday. We depart in silence tonight, return and leave in sorrowful silence tomorrow and gather in silence once more – though with great expectation – as the sun departs on Saturday. The Passover of our Lord is here.
So our first reading tonight recalls God’s commands to Moses before the Israelites observed their first Passover, the one done literally on the verge of flight from their slavery in Egypt… So, following God’s command, the Chosen People shared a perfectly unblemished lamb…
And, taking the blood of the lamb, they painted their doorposts with it. The “angel of death” would see this sacrifice and “pass over” them; as for the Egyptians, who would lack this sign, they would see once and for all (since nine previous plagues had failed to convince them) that their gods were powerless before “I AM.” (…) [W]e come again to the table tonight to celebrate our liberation from slavery, for the re-presentation of the greatest Passover of all. Jesus, the innocent, unblemished Lamb of God, our Passover, is sacrificed for us to take away the sin of the world.” “
|Reading 1: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
“This is how you are to eat it:
“This day shall be a memorial feast for you,
|CELEBRATING THE EUCHARIST
“[T]he words Paul prescribes for his mission Church at Corinth are one of the earliest records we have of how the first Christians celebrated the Eucharist. (…) The four New Testament renderings of the Words of Institution differ slightly from each other, but not in any essentials. All four use the same Greek words to make crystal-clear that the consecrated bread and wine ARE Jesus’ body and blood. Just as the Old Covenant was ratified by the blood of animal sacrifices, so the New Covenant is ratified with Jesus’ once-for-all Sacrifice on Calvary. Christ does not “die again” on the altar. The priest “re-presents” that very same single sacrifice every time we celebrate Mass.”
|Reading 2: 1 Cor 11:23-26
Brothers and Sisters,
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
“The Eucharist was not the only sacrament founded on that first Holy Thursday. The Church also traces Christ’s founding of the priesthood to this evening, through His command to celebrate the Eucharist “in remembrance of Me.” (…) Jesus corrects him [Peter]: Let Me serve you. You cannot be My disciple otherwise. Why? Because you must be all about emptying yourself and serving others – all the time – as you spread My Good News to all nations.
And this call goes out to all Christians, not merely priests, bishops and Peter’s successor as pope, “the servant of the servants of God.” Sin, in every expression, is self-centeredness at the expense of others. We must think and speak and act with the same humility, the same emptying of self, that Christ modeled throughout His earthly ministry and all the way to the cross.
We cannot do this on our own, but Christ Himself makes it possible through His Word and sacraments and most especially as we humbly receive His body, blood, soul and divinity. He not only humbled Himself to wash our feet; in the eating and drinking, the Bridegroom literally enters each of us and makes us one in His Mystical Body, the Church, His Bride.
So we celebrate tonight – knowing the sorrow, but also the joy, still to come.”
|Gospel: Jn 13:1-15
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
So when he had washed their feet
– The betrayal
– The Passion of Jesus Christ
– Mass of the Lord’s Supper
– Holy Thursday
– Lent and Easter 2011 Calendar