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HOLY THURSDAY

Father Francis's picture
Holy Week

Jesus has less than 24 hours of His life left on this earth. He has very little time to tie up the ends. His only thought is to prepare His dearest friends His apostles for the terrible fate that awaits Him. This was to be His farewell to them. He was going to do it in the setting of an evening meal, the meal of the Passover when He would introduce and new and eternal covenant. He had already warned them several times about His tragic death of how He was to be captured, scourged and crucified. But this prediction had not penetrated their minds. Because they loved Him so much they did not want to hear about His impending sufferings and so they blocked their ears and did not listen to the most important words that followed ‘and I will rise on the third day’. This is the reason why none of them expected the resurrection. But even for Jesus things were not going to go as He planned.

Before they could sit down to their evening meal it was customary for one of them to was the feet of those who partook of the meal. Not one of them was prepared for this. They were arguing who of them was the greatest. So Jesus had to teach them a very valuable lesson. He took a basin filled it with water and a towel and began to wash the feet of His friends. What humility. Jesus who is God kneeling at the feet of His apostles washing their feet. He could not have given the apostles and us a better example that to be a follower of Jesus you must make yourself a servant of all. He concluded with the words, “If I Your Lord and Master have washed your feet you must was the feet of one another.”

Then He sat down at the table. Now listen to the words Jesus spoke. These words should be etched in our memories every time we walk up the aisle of the Church to receive Jesus in Holy Communion. “I have longed to have this meal with you.” This is Jesus, our God, our Friend speaking to us. With all the longing in His heart He wants to be with us. It is as if from all eternity He was waiting for this moment to give Himself to us in a unique way.

He has promised that He will be with us until the end of time and at the same time to be the food of our souls. I think only our loving Jesus could have thought of this. By changing bread and wine into His living self He will remain with us forever. Again another sign of His humility! And so He took bread in His hands and said, “This is My Body. Take and eat.” He took the cup of wine in His hands and said, “This is My Blood. Take and drink.” No longer was there bread and wine in His hands but His living self.

When He added the words, “Do this in commemoration of Me,” He ordained these men as His first priests. They were to continue the work He had begun.

What does all this tell you? Just one thing. The love that is oozing from the heart of Jesus. Very soon He was to be arrested and like a lamb He was going to His death shedding the last drop of His blood for you and me. This was what His Father demanded of Him if He was to save us, His sinful brothers and sisters, from the clutches of Satan and take us to heaven. How He suffered for us, betrayed by a friend through greed, denied by another through human frailty and deserted by the others; then that brutal scourging, crowning with thorns, nailed to a cross and hung there for three long hours and through it all love oozing from his heart. And we know that if He had to do it all over again to save one of us He would go through it. How He loved us!

Lord Jesus, how can we thank You enough for the way You loved us! Holy Spirit, help us by holy and caring lives to thank and love Jesus in return.

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