(Holy Week) Thursday, 13 April 2017 : Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 13 : 1-15

At that time, it was before the feast of the Passover. Jesus realised that His hour had come, to pass from this world to the Father; and as He had loved those who were His own in the world, He would love them with perfect love.

They were at supper, and the devil had already put into the mind of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had entrusted all things to Him, and as He had come from God, He was going to God. So He got up from the table, removed His garment, and taking a towel, wrapped it around His waist. Then He poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel He was wearing.

When He came to Simon Peter, Simon asked Him, “Why, Lord, do You want to wash my feet?” Jesus said, “What I am doing you cannot understand now, but afterwards you will understand it.” Peter replied, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you can have no part with Me.”

Then Simon Peter said, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus replied, “Whoever has taken a bath does not need to wash (except the feet), for he is clean all over. You are clean, though not all of you.” Jesus knew who was to betray Him; because of this He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

When Jesus had finished washing their feet, He put on His garment again, went back to the table, and said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call Me Master and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also must wash one another’s feet. I have just given you an example, that as I have done, you also may do.”

(Holy Week) Thursday, 13 April 2017 : Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
1 Corinthians 11 : 23-26

This is the tradition of the Lord that I received and that in my turn I have handed on to you; the Lord Jesus, on the night that He was delivered up, took bread and, after giving thanks, broke it, saying, “This is My Body which is broken for you; do this in memory of Me.”

In the same manner, taking the cup after the supper, He said, “This cup is the new Covenant in My Blood. Whenever you drink it, do it in memory of Me.” So, then, whenever you eat of this bread and drink from this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord until He comes.

(Holy Week) Thursday, 13 April 2017 : Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 115 : 12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18

How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to Me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.

It is painful to the Lord to see the death of His faithful. Truly Your servant, Your handmaid’s Son. You have freed Me from My bonds.

I will offer You a thanksgiving sacrifice; I will call on the Name of the Lord. I will carry out My vows to the Lord in the presence of His people.

(Holy Week) Thursday, 13 April 2017 : Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Exodus 12 : 1-8, 11-14

YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt and said, “This month is to be the beginning of all months, the first month of your year. Speak to the community of Israel and say to them : On the tenth day of this month let each family take a lamb, a lamb for each house. If the family is too small for a lamb, they must join with a neighbour, the nearest to the house, according to the number of persons, and to what each one can eat.”

“You will select a perfect lamb without blemish, a male born during the present year, taken from the sheep or goats. Then you will keep it until the fourteenth day of the month. On that evening all the people will slaughter their lambs and take some of the blood to put on the doorposts and on top of the doorframes of the houses where you eat. That night you will eat the flesh roasted at the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.”

“And this is how you will eat : with a belt round your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. You shall eat hastily for it is a Passover in honour of YHVH. On that night I shall go through Egypt and strike every firstborn in Egypt, men and animals; and I will even bring judgment on all of the gods of Egypt, I, YHVH! The blood on your houses will be the sign that you are there. I will see the blood and pass over you; and you will escape the mortal plague when I strike Egypt.”

“This is a day you are to remember and celebrate in honour of YHVH. It is to be kept as a festival day for all generations forever.”

(Holy Week) Thursday, 13 April 2017 : Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this occasion we celebrate together the Chrism Mass, the moment when all of the priests and all those who had committed themselves to a life of sanctity to God renew their commitment and vow to the Lord, and it is also the occasion when the holy oils are blessed and sanctified for use in the anointing of the catechumens, the sick and also for the ordination to the holy orders.

Since ages past, oils have been used to signify an inauguration and sanctification, and they were used since those times to bless and inaugurate the rule of kings and princes, and also for the worship of the divine, being used in temples and in rituals of worship for the pagan gods and idols. And in the Scriptures, in the tradition of our faith, the holy oil has been used to anoint God’s chosen ones, on those whom God had placed His favour on, as a sign of sanctification and grace.

Therefore, when all the people who have accepted the faith come forward to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, they are also anointed with the holy oil as a sign of their anointment as the people who have been made priest, prophet and king as mentioned in the Scripture. These are the three callings which are brought upon all the people of God, the calling to be priestly, prophetic and kingly as our Lord is a Priest, a Prophet and a King.

The Lord is a Priest, the High Priest of all the people of God, for He offered sacrifice to the Lord for the sake of all of us sinners, for the oblation of our sins. He however offered not the imperfect sacrifice of animals, bulls, rams or birds. He offered Himself, His own Precious Body and Blood as a perfect offering for the absolution of all of our sins and faults.

And He is also a Prophet, for He declared the truth about Himself, about the salvation which He had brought into this world. He came declaring the Good News, to all mankind, fulfilling completely and perfectly all that the earlier prophets were speaking about Him. He brought the truth which many people refused to believe in, including all those who have persecuted Him and rejected Him.

He is also a King, for He comes into this world as the Son and Heir of David, the king whom God had placed over His people Israel. He came as a king, as the King over all other kings, for He is the Lord and Master of all, and reign as the Almighty and All-Powerful King, Whose reign was told to be never-ending, and He will bless us all His people, and love us all to the end of time.

Yet, He is also humble even though He was mighty and great. He did not boast of His greatness and glory, and instead choosing to come in humility, being born of His mother in a simple stable, and lived a lowly and humble life. He is the epitome of all priests, the One Who is the model for all of us faithful ones. We have to walk in His ways, obey Him and do as what He had done in His earthly life.

And thus, in particular, on this day and occasion we remember our holy priests, all those who have given themselves completely to the service of God, giving themselves to be the ones who are the representatives of Christ in this world. Our priests are all acting in persona Christi as they reenact the same sacrifice at Calvary, when the bread and wine are offered and blessed, transformed by the power of the Lord acting through our priests, into the very essence and substance of the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord.

They have consecrated themselves to the Lord, and have been offered and chosen from among us all to be those who will become the go-between between us and God. They have a difficult task ahead of them, and many of them had met various challenges, even slander and opposition. Yet, many of them courageously continued on regardless, doing the best they could to fulfil the calling and vocation to which they have been called by God.

Let us all support our priests and all those who have consecrated themselves to God, that they may be able to continue to be faithful to the vows which they had made before the Lord. Let us pray also for more vocations as we all know just how increasingly difficult the situation is for our Church, with the declining vocations to priesthood and also with the ever more and ever greater challenges to our faith due to our contemporary culture and societal norms.

Let us begin by living good and honest Christian lives, role modelling for one another, and helping each other to live in accordance to how the Lord wants us to live. Let us all strive to be a priestly people, a prophetic people and a kingly people, loving one another and giving ourselves to care for those who are in need of our help. If we all can do this and cultivate true Christian values in our lives, before long, certainly the vocations to the priesthood will bloom and flourish again.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all gather together in prayer on the occasion of this Chrism Mass, that the holy oils blessed by the Bishop will bring strength and power to all those to whom it will be given, be it to the catechumens, that they may be continuously firmed and strengthened in their faith as they journey towards baptism, and to those who are to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, that the Holy Spirit will enter into their hearts and inflame their faith.

And last of all, let us all pray that all those who have given themselves in total commitment to the Lord as His priests will be blessed with faith and strength in their commitment to lead a life devoted to Him. Let us all pray that the holy oils blessed today will bring them the power and strength to devote themselves to their calling as it is applied on their foreheads and palms, that they will be ever ready to take up the cross of Christ at all times and follow Him.

And now that our priests had done so, let us all the laity also follow in their footsteps and walk in the way that God had shown to us. May the Lord bless us all and keep us all in His grace. May He awaken in each and every one of us the love which we ought to have for Him. God bless us all. Amen.