Apr 14, 2017

Holy Thursday

Knowing that within 24 hours He would be arrested, crucified and dead, Jesus gathered His closest friends around him to a secret rendezvous place. Unlike previous meals where everyone could be present, this was a uniquely personal, intimate, and intense nighttime gathering. It had the air of mystery about it – even danger.

He was not all talk and no action. What He always said, He always did. What He preached, He practiced. He told the twelve men to repeat what He was about to do. First with bread and then with wine: take, bless, break and pour out, and then give.  He told them, “Do this in memory of me”. 

But this “memory” is not simply a mere mental recall among friends “for old times sake”. It is a form of “remembrance”. Remembrance is personal and intimate; it is more than a historical or retelling of a story. This type of making a memory present, evokes a real life presence – it brings to the here and now and unlocks an event from the past, making it present, calling it to come alive again, allows it to release all its power and energy.   

What began at his Last Supper and channeled through the explosive power of his Resurrection, at every Mass, this is what happens. Whether we are alert or tired, tuned-in or distracted as were his twelve apostles in the Upper Room or the soldiers guarding his tomb, Christ's offering of Himself to His heavenly Father on our behalf, is made present.  The Christ, whom we encounter in this Eucharist, is not frozen in time. He still offers Himself to his Father on our behalf. How? Through priesthood!

He is the one eternal priest offering His Body and Blood in sacrifice for His one and only Bride whom He loves. His one sacrifice, which spills over into every age, keeps the Church holy through the grace of the sacraments. And flowing out from the sanctuary like a great wave that begins as a ripple, it floods down the steps of the sanctuary. Christ's love and mercy streams out over the whole world. 

Many of us are afraid of its power and at times we will run from its course, looking for higher ground or safe places. But for those who stand still, allowing themselves to be vulnerable to the love and mercy of God, it washes clean all the filth and dirt of sin and despair.

At the Last Supper, the apostles, by their own intimate association with Christ, became priests of the New Testament. They where sent into the world to create waves. But what type? Not social upheaval, cultural wars or political victories. The men who share in Christ’s priesthood, open up the floodgates of Divine Mercy which, generated from this Holy Mass, flow forth from the holy sanctuary of the heart of Christ to renew the whole world. May these waters never be allowed to become stagnant, to become breeding grounds for parasites or polluted by the carelessness of man. How will the tide-pools of God's mercy remain always fresh and life-giving?

Tonight we let us pray that more young men, men of adventure, having first experienced the mercy of God in their own lives, will dare wade upstream, climb the steep steps to the Upper Room in search of the source of Christ's tender love and mercy for the world - the giving of His Body and Blood in atonement for the sins of humanity. 

Pray and encourage your sons and brothers to search for the Upper Room of the Last Supper. Pray also for your pastor and all the priests that serve the People of God that they will always faithfully channel the great reservoir of God's mercy, especially through the Holy Mass and the Sacrament of Confession.

The cleansing of the sins of the world began at the table of the Last Supper in the Upper Room with Christ at its head and his apostles gathered around Him. But before He laid down His life and offered us His most sacred Body and Blood, in unassuming humility, gentle kindness and unseen patience, He first laid aside His royal robe for a simple towel.  On His hands and knees, He washed the feet of His disciples who would likewise wash the feet of every man, women and child in the mercy and love of God.

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