READINGS: EXODUS 12: 1-8, 11-14; I COR. 11: 23-26; JOHN 13: 1-15.
Everyone likes a good meal, particularly when accompanied by friends and family. Such a meal can become an event that is remembered for years linking us with a memory of sharing conversation, humor, and banter.
Today we celebrate a meal-though notably not just any meal but a send-off meal by Jesus. He knows that soon suffering and death will end his earthly ministry and wishes to have one last Passover meal with His Apostles. Jesus wants to show that His suffering and death will be a new Passover- an innocent man who will be tortured until death for the sins of humanity. This will show that it is not the blood of a lamb on a doorpost that saves (as in Exodus) but the blood of the God-man Jesus.
This meal was not only a send-off for Jesus but a gift. Through the Eucharist- given at the Last Supper- Jesus’ departure triggers a continuous presence for us. The Eucharist is Jesus’ presence to His people across time and space.
Not only a departure event and gift throughout time for the People of God but also a potent memory. The Last Supper gives us a picture of the end of time- the eschaton- when believers are gathered together in peace around Christ. An eschatological image of peace, unity, and justice where suffering, pain, evil, and war are abolished with the People of God, gathered together not for self-interest but to worship the Risen Lord. That is a memory to hold and one that has given hope to millions throughout history.
So Holy Thursday is a time of sorrow with Jesus’ death coming, a gift of the Eucharist, and a hope-filled memory.
Please remember the MDA doctors during this Holy Week through donations and prayers.
God bless you and Happy Holy Thursday!