Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy Thursday

Today is Holy Thursday, sometimes called Maundy Thursday.   Maundy comes from the Latin word "mandatum" which means to "mandate, send, commission or command."

On this day we have the Last Mass until Easter.  It is also the day we remember Jesus' Last Supper with His Disciples.  On this night Jesus would take bread and wine, bless them, distribute among the others and declare that they are His Body and Blood.  He commanded to continue this ceremony in memory of Him.  Here we have the first Mass celebrated by Jesus Christ Himself!

When Jesus said, "this is my Body, this is my Blood"  He literally meant it was.  The Holy Eucharist is really Jesus Christ Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  The Holy Eucharist is not a symbolic representation of Christ.

The substance of the bread and wine change into the Body Blood Soul and Divinity of Christ while the accidents or what we perceive outside remains the same.  

Prior to this, Jesus washed the feet of the Disciples showing humility and that He washes away our sin - our filth.  In those days people walked with sandals or barefoot.  There is no way feet would remain clean.  The washing of the feet is a sign that no matter how filthy we get in this world, Christ will wash us clean with His own hands.  This is also a reminder that before participating in the Supper of the Lord, we must be clean spiritually.

This is a very powerful image to me.  God - the God of the universe gets down and washes the feet of mere men.  Men who were sinners.  Men who would eventually abandon Him the next day except John.  If this does not show God loves us, then I don't know what does.  This is one of the things that attracted me to Christianity.

Priests imitate Jesus on this day and wash the feet of 12 men.  At the end, instead of the Holy Eucharist being reserved in a Tabernacle at Church.  The Blessed Sacrament is transferred to the Altar of Repose.  This is basically showing that Jesus was taken away by the soldiers.

After the Supper, Jesus and the Disciples went to pray at the Garden of  Gethsemane.  It is here where Jesus become anxious, depressed and cries blood.  We see Jesus' here as truly human and divine.  Judas would then come with soldiers and kiss Jesus' cheek showing who is the one that needs to be arrested.    

Every Catholic Church is emptied of crucifixes, icons showing Christ.  Statues and other images are covered with purple linens.  The Church looks empty.  It looks like a mere building, not God's house.  The Paschal candle which shows us Jesus is present is turned off.  The Tabernacle is left wide open.  Jesus is not there anymore.

Holy Thursday is an awesome day to meditate on especially for those men who feel called to become priests.  On this day not only is the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist born, but the priesthood as well.  When Jesus said, "do this in memory of me" He basically meant that this ceremony wasn't a one time thing.

For over 2000 years the Catholic Church has been doing just that.  We remember His life, death and resurrection in every Mass.  Jesus doesn't die again because He died once to redeem us all.  His death is represented again at every Mass.

Let us take this time to meditate on the Holy Eucharist, the priesthood, the humble act of God washing the feet of men, the betray of Judas.  

Take this time to think where you are at spiritually.  Are you on Judas' backstabber side?  Are you on Simon Peter's cowardly side?  Are you on John's loyal side?

Let us all strive to be on John's side and remain with Jesus throughout it all, good and bad.  In the end it will be worth it.



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