Thursday, 17 April 2014 : Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Easter Triduum (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the first Mass ever celebrated, that is when Jesus gave Himself in the form of His own Precious Body and Blood in the bread and wine to His disciples during the last supper He had with them before His Passion and death.

Today we celebrate that moment when Christ laid bare the love He has for all of us, and gave Himself completely for us through the gift of Himself. This gift He made freely to all of us providing we accept this gift and therefore accept the Lord as our God and Saviour. This Holy or Maundy Thursday is the birth of the Mass and the Church, because it is at this moment we celebrate that Jesus instituted the centre of our faith, the Real Presence in the Eucharist.

Today’s celebration centres on the loving nature of our God, in how great is His love and dedication for us, that He is willing to come down and stoop to be our servant, giving His all to liberate us from the snare of death and return us to the embrace of the Father. That was why He also showed His loving nature, by showing it through real action and service.

He lowered Himself to take the role of a servant, and even like that of a slave, by washing the feet of His own disciples and dry them with a towel wrapped about His waist. This is a job only done by servants and slaves, the lowest and the meanest job in the society, and one that is looked down upon by the people. He did this to show that, while He is the all-powerful Lord and Master of all, but He also cared for all of us so much, that He showed the love not by mere words, but also through action.

And how is the action of the washing of the feet significant in this? That is because, mankind had long been swallowed by their sins and lived in great darkness. Mankind had forgotten what is meant by love, not just any love, but the great love of God. That is why men end up being individualistic and grew to care only about themselves and whatever it is that benefits them.

And as you all know, brethren, the greatest of sins is pride, the same that had brought down Lucifer, now known as the devil into sin and rebellion against God. Mankind had grow to love themselves and care only for their well-being, that the self, the ego is growing greater and greater. As a result, mankind also grew less and less capable to love and care for one another and this results in mankind progressing deeper and deeper in their sinfulness.

The Lord Jesus showed by example, that power and greatness do not have to come together with greed, self-centredness and ego. Indeed, He showed that the greater a person is, the more humble he or she should become. And that the essence of leadership is service, that service is when someone uses His abilities and powers to help others to achieve the same thing as that someone could achieve on his own.

On this moment that we commemorate, the Last Supper, Jesus showed His disciples how they should treat one another, by sharing with each other the love God had given them, and hence by doing so, they themselves will grow greater and greater in love and in the grace of God, while being examples for others to follow.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today is truly a great day for all of us, because not only just that the Lord gave concrete proofs of His love for us by giving us none other than His own Precious Body and Blood to have, so that we may have life in Him, but He also showed us through His disciples, how to live our lives that it will be meaningful and filled with grace.

As Christians we have to live up to the examples of Christ, and indeed listen to what Jesus told His disciples, that they ought to do what He had done to one another. We cannot be apathetic as Christians, for the moment that we fail to show care and love for one another, we should indeed no longer be referred to as Christians or as the followers of Christ.

On this day, Jesus gave Himself completely to us, and He surrendered even His life so that we may live. This is the essence and the heart of Christian love and Christian life. Therefore, as we keep vigil tonight with the Lord, let us be reminded of God’s gift to us and also His call for us that we may be true Christians, putting into practice our faith and what Christ had taught us.

May the Lord continue to bless us, and through the Real Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist, may the Lord continue to nourish us with His own flesh and blood that we may always be strong, always be faithful and always be true to our Lord and His words. God be with us all and His blessing be with us all. Amen.

Thursday, 17 April 2014 : Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Easter Triduum (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 13 : 1-15

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.”

Thursday, 17 April 2014 : Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Easter Triduum (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 chalice 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 chalice, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord until He comes.

Thursday, 17 April 2014 : Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Easter Triduum (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 I am Your servant, Your handmaid’s son. You have freed me from my bonds.

I will offer 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.

Thursday, 17 April 2014 : Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Easter Triduum (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 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 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.”