Holy Thursday – Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.

Please bear with me if I seem possessed by Time. These are strange times in which we live; we do well to contemplate the pervasive reality of time, and its compelling irreversibility. Nothing done can be undone. Or, as the Veterans say, "A gun fired cannot be unfired." 
We so often take time for granted, and waste much of it to our regret; but we discover an elusive mystery when we try to look directly at it.
Jesus knew his time had come; he had been born for this hour. God the Creator had planned and prepared this moment long before the patriarchs and matriarchs Moses, Sarah, Abraham, Noah, Eve and Adam were born. With the arrival of this long awaited hour he could not, must not, fail.
He was the son of his Mother. She too had readily made an irreversible decision in the divine moment of crisis, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her. Both were fully prepared for their critical moments and chose wisely. Having conceived a son, she could not unconceive him.

On this Holy Thursday we remember his "Last Supper" and try to ponder all facets of this wonderful event. He washed their feet. He gave them his body to eat and his blood to drink. With the "institution" of the Eucharist he "ordained" his disciples as priests with his command: "Do this in memory of me."
In the Triduum of three sacred liturgies we see that the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection are one event. This is why we begin the ceremonies with the Sign of Cross on Holy Thursday and don't "sign" again until the end of the Easter Mass -- with a triple alleluia! The Good Friday service begins and ends in silence. This is a single, three day event.
The Triduum is the long-awaited hour at the end of Lent, the beginning of a fifty day season until Pentecost. During this Triduum new Catholics will be baptized. They will receive First Communion and be confirmed. Having been through the ceremony they cannot be unbaptized, un-eucharisted, or unconfirmed. Each has been given a new, baptismal name by which God gathers them to himself. They can expect to hear that name called as the brother of Martha and Mary heard his name when the Lord commanded him, "Lazarus, come out." He was a long way gone but his name and that voice brought him a long way back.

Saint John goes on to say that Jesus, knowing his hour had come, loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. He will not do this alone. These disciples must also be caught up in this passage from this world to the Father. He could not unlove them. During the Last Supper he tells them, "Where I am going you cannot follow." But, "I will come back to take you with me." 

On that evening they cannot see that he will die tomorrow; they cannot imagine that he will lead them through death. When he takes the bread, blesses, breaks and gives it to them, saying "This is my body," they cannot yet understand that, by eating and drinking they will "pass from this world to the Father." When he washes their feet they cannot see the sign of what Good Friday means. These mysteries will be revealed by the Holy Spirit in another time and place. For the nonce they can only follow his lead and trust in the Master's mysterious words and gestures.

Entering this sacred moment in the Year of Our Lord 2018, each one of us realizes, "I was born for this moment, this opportunity, this hour of grace." By celebrating the Triduum we return to the hour of salvation; but it's not exactly a "return" for this hour is the hour of salvation. Gathered with the Lord we die with him in Baptism and are raised again by receiving his Body and Blood. From this Upper Room we see the Promised Land.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.