“HE LOVED THEM TO THE END (Jn 13:1)”
The Sacred Paschal Triduum begins during which the Church solemnly celebrates the greatest mysteries of our redemption by means of special celebrations of the Last Supper (Holy Thursday), the Passion and Death of Our Lord (Good Friday), and His Glorious Resurrection (Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday).
On HOLY THURSDAY, we celebrate THE EVENING MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER during which three principal mysteries are commemorated, namely:
- the institution of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist;
2. the institution of the Sacrament of the Priestly Order;
3. and the commandment of the Lord concerning fraternal charity.
The Gospel of St. John (13:1-15) which we read in today’s Mass recounts the teachings of Our Lord during the Last Supper. He omits the institution of the sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders which he already reported in the other Gospels (see Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-25, Lk 22:19-20) and by St. Paul (1 Cor 11:23-26) to emphasize the intensity of Jesus’ emotions who knew what was about to transpire and that His Passion and Death were imminent. Jesus wanted those last moments spent with His Apostles to be filled with a special tone of tenderness and intimacy.
And so St. John reports Jesus’ surprising example by washing the feet of the Apostles ─a humiliating task reserved only to the household servants─ to underline the fact that if Jesus Himself has come “to serve and not to be served” (Mk 10:45), so should be His disciples. “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 (Jn 13:15).”
WHAT IS THE MAIN REASON BEHIND THE EVENTS ─the institution of the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Sacred Orders and the commandment concerning fraternal charity─ WHICH OCCURRED DURING THE LAST SUPPER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WHICH WE COMMEMORATE TODAY?
The main reason can be found in these words of St. John: “when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart Out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, HE LOVED THEM TO THE END (Jn 13:1).”
JESUS LOVES US TILL THE END with:
– an IMMENSE love capable of HUMBLING and FORGETTING HIMSELF in order to SERVE and MAKE US PURE AND HAPPY ;
– a NEVER-ENDING love which eagerly seeks to be UNITED and REMAIN WITH US ALWAYS;
– an INTENSE love which wants to PERPETUATE and COMMEMORATE His PRESENCE and TOTAL SELF-GIVING…
ALL THESE THROUGH THE SACRAMENTS OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST AND OF THE HOLY ORDER!
Dear friends, Holy Thursday is a great day to contemplate Jesus’ immense love for each one of us especially in the Holy Eucharist. But let us not forget that love requires correspondence and reciprocity. Let us also examine ourselves if our love for God and for those around us is one which is humble and self-forgetful; a love which knows how to give one’s self and to serve the others; a love which seeks union and intimacy with the Beloved.
“Jesus has remained in the Eucharist to remedy our weaknesses, our doubts, our fears, our anxieties; to cure our loneliness, our perplexity, our discouragement; to accompany us on our way; to uphold us in our struggle. Above all, he is there to teach us to love, to draw us to his Love. ‘When you contemplate the Sacred Host exposed on the altar in the monstrance, think how great is the love, the tenderness of Christ. My way to understand it is by thinking of the love I have for you. If I could be far away, working, and at the same time at the side of each one of you, how gladly I would do it!
But Christ really can do it! He loves us with a love that is infinitely greater than the love that all the hearts of the world could hold. And he has stayed with us so that we can join ourselves at any time to his most Sacred Humanity, and so that he can help us, console us, strengthen us, so that we may be faithful (St. Josemaría, The Forge, 838. Cf. 832, 837)’ (Javier Echevarría, Pastoral Letter on the Occasion of the Year of the Eucharist, Oct. 6, 2004).”
SEE AS WELL:
- THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN: http://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2016/03/14/the-passion-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-the-agony-in-the-garden/
- THE JEWISH AND ROMAN TRIALS: http://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2016/03/15/the-passion-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-jesus-sufferings-during-the-jewish-and-roman-trials/
- THE SCOURGING AT THE PILLAR: http://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2016/03/16/the-passion-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-3-the-scourging-at-the-pillar/
- THE CROWNING WITH THORNS: http://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2016/03/21/the-passion-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-the-crowning-with-thorns/
- HOW TO MEDITATE ON THE PASSION OF OUR LORD: http://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2016/03/13/how-to-meditate-on-the-passion-of-our-lord/
- SUMMARY OF CATHOLIC TEACHING. THE PASSION AND DEATH ON THE CROSS: http://catholicsstrivingforholiness.com/2016/03/19/summaries-of-catholic-teaching-topic-10-the-passion-and-death-on-the-cross-of-our-lord-jesus-christ/
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Thanks and God bless! Fr. Rolly A.
ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE: Giotto, “The Last Supper” in https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ef/3f/35/ef3f35bd5845dee4bdea651fe0966c1a.jpg (background removed)
Gold leaf background: https://www.colourbox.com/preview/2631241-shiny-yellow-leaf-gold-foil-texture-background.jpg
SUGGESTED READINGS FOR PERSONAL MEDITATION:
St. Josemaría, “The Eucharist, Mystery of Faith and Love”, in http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/christ_is_passing_by-chapter-9.htm
BENEDICT XVI, Homily Missa in Coena Domini, April 13, 2006 in http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/homilies/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20060413_coena-domini.html
BENEDICT XVI, Homily Missa in Coena Domini, March 20, 2008 in http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/homilies/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20080320_coena-domini.html