Thứ Tư, 12 tháng 4, 2017

APRIL 13, 2017 : HOLY THURSDAY - EVENING MASS OF THE LORD'S SUPPER

Holy Thursday – Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper
Lectionary: 39

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 
"This month shall stand at the head of your calendar; 
you shall reckon it the first month of the year.
Tell the whole community of Israel: 
On the tenth of this month every one of your families
must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household.
If a family is too small for a whole lamb, 
it shall join the nearest household in procuring one 
and shall share in the lamb 
in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it.
The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish.
You may take it from either the sheep or the goats.
You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, 
and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, 
it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight.
They shall take some of its blood 
and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel 
of every house in which they partake of the lamb.
That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh 
with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

"This is how you are to eat it: 
with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand,
you shall eat like those who are in flight.
It is the Passover of the LORD.
For on this same night I will go through Egypt, 
striking down every firstborn of the land, both man and beast,
and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD!
But the blood will mark the houses where you are.
Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; 
thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, 
no destructive blow will come upon you.

"This day shall be a memorial feast for you, 
which all your generations shall celebrate 
with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution."

Responsorial PsalmPS 116:12-13, 15-16BC, 17-18
R. (cf. 1 Cor 10:16) Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.

Reading 21 COR 11:23-26
Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, 
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, 
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me."
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, 
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, 
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Verse Before The GospelJN 13:34
I give you a new commandment, says the Lord:
love one another as I have loved you.

GospelJN 13:1-15
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper, 
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power 
and that he had come from God and was returning to God, 
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin 
and began to wash the disciples' feet 
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, 
"Master, are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus answered and said to him,
"What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later."
Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet."
Jesus answered him, 
"Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me."
Simon Peter said to him, 
"Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well."
Jesus said to him, 
"Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over; 
so you are clean, but not all."
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, "Not all of you are clean."

So when he had washed their feet 
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, 
he said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, 
you ought to wash one another's feet.
I have given you a model to follow, 
so that as I have done for you, you should also do."


Meditation: Jesus' supreme humility
Does your love waver when you encounter bitter disappointments and injury from others? As Jesus' hour of humiliation draws near he reveals to his disciples the supreme humility which shaped the love he had for them. He stoops to perform a menial task reserved for servants - the washing of smelly, dirty feet. In stooping to serve his disciples Jesus knew he would be betrayed by one of them and that the rest would abandon him through fear and disloyalty. Such knowledge could have easily led to bitterness or hatred. Jesus met the injury of betrayal and disloyalty with the greatest humility and supreme love.
Let the love of Christ rule in your heart and actions 
Jesus loved his disciples to the very end, even when they failed him and forsook him. The Lord loves each of us freely and unconditionally. His love has power to set us free to love and serve others with Christ-like compassion and humility. Paul the Apostle tells us that Christ's gift of love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us (Romans 5:5 and 8:35-39). Does the love of Christ rule in your heart, thoughts, intentions and actions?
The love of Christ conquers all and never fails
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) in his sermon for Holy Thursday wrote:
"He had the power of laying down his life; we by contrast cannot choose the length of our lives, and we die even if it is against our will. He, by dying, destroyed death in himself; we are freed from death only in his death. His body did not see corruption; our body will see corruption and only then be clothed through him in incorruption at the end of the world. He needed no help from us in saving us; without him we can do nothing. He gave himself to us as the vine to the branches; apart from him we cannot have life.
Finally, even if brothers die for brothers, yet no martyr by shedding his blood brings forgiveness for the sins of his brothers, as Christ brought forgiveness to us. In this he gave us, not an example to imitate but a reason for rejoicing. Inasmuch, then, as they shed their blood for their brothers, the martyrs provided "the same kind of meal" as they had received at the Lord's table. Let us then love one another as Christ also loved us and gave himself up for us."
"Lord Jesus, your love conquers all and never fails. Help me to love others freely, with heart-felt compassion, kindness and goodness. Where there is injury, may I sow peace rather than strife."

A Daily Quote for LentChrist chose to be a servant who offered himself for us, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"Even though the man Christ Jesus, in the form of God together with the Father with whom He is one God, accepts our sacrifice, nonetheless He has chosen in the form of a servant to be the sacrifice rather than accept it. Therefore, He is the priest Himself Who presents the offering, and He Himself is what is offered." (excerpt from City of God, 10,20) 

Holy Thursday Commences the Easter Triduum 

Along with Good Friday and Holy Saturday, these three days of prayer constitute the Paschal Mystery, Jesus' passion and death, which culminate in the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Holy Thursday is also known as “Maundy Thursday," from the Latin mandatum, for “command,” the instruction Jesus gave to his disciples at the Last Supper that they should love and serve one another as he did.

HOLY THURSDAY (THURSDAY OF HOLY WEEK)
THURSDAY, APRIL 13, JOHN 13:1-15 (Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper)

​(Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; Psalm 116; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

KEY VERSE: "If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet" (v.14).
TO KNOW: Chapter 13 of John's gospel begins the "Book of Glory" (13:1 - 20:31). The “hour” had come, and Jesus was on the threshold of his saving death. He wanted to demonstrate his love for his disciples, a love he would show them "to the end" (v.1). Although Jesus was "fully aware" that God had put "everything into his power" (v.3), he rose from the table, stripped himself of his outer garments and began to bathe the feet of his disciples, a menial task only required of the lowliest slave. When Peter objected to having his feet washed, Jesus insisted that Peter must receive his love if he wanted to share his heritage. Then Jesus commanded his disciples: "As I have done so you must do" (v.15), words similar to the institution of the Eucharist: "Do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19b). The washing of the feet on Holy Thursday is a reminder to all who have been cleansed by the purifying waters of Baptism, to follow Christ's example of humility and service. He teaches the leaders of the Church that their role must be one of service, not of power.
TO LOVE: Am I willing to do the humble tasks asked of me today?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to follow your example of loving service.

Thursday 13 April 2017

Holy Thursday.
‘Jesus began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing.’ John 13:5
The Last Supper was not the first time Jesus had shared a meal with the worst of sinners and the hungriest of pilgrims. It was not the first time Jesus had given consolation and healing to those who shared a table with him. On this night, however, he already knew that Judas had betrayed him and he already knew that the powers of darkness were circling. In this most vulnerable of moments, his focus is not on himself. Rather, Jesus gives each person present all of his love. When he washes their feet he shows his love. The main message here is not that I should go and wash the feet of others – though of course I am called to do that every day. No, the main message is that I am to let Jesus wash my feet, to let Jesus wipe away my weariness, to let Jesus heal the scars of my straying, and to let Jesus’ love renew me body and soul. This is what Jesus chooses to do in the face of death. Lord, as you face death, and as my beloved faces death, so also I face death. Help me feel the power of your love.

HOLY THURSDAY

Holy Thursday is the most complex and profound of all religious observances, saving only the Easter Vigil. It celebrates both the institution by Christ himself of the Eucharist and of the institution of the sacerdotal priesthood (as distinct from the 'priesthood of all believers') for in this, His last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover, He is the self-offered Passover Victim, and every ordained priest to this day presents this same sacrifice, by Christ's authority and command, in exactly the same way. The Last Supper was also Christ's farewell to His assembled disciples, some of whom would betray, desert or deny Him before the sun rose again.
The Holy Thursday liturgy, celebrated in the evening because Passover began at sundown, also shows both the worth God ascribes to the humility of service, and the need for cleansing with water (a symbol of baptism) in the Mandatum, or washing in Jesus' washing the feet of His disciples, and in the priest's stripping and washing of the altar. Cleansing, in fact, gave this day of Holy Week the name Maundy Thursday.
The action of the Church on this night also witnesses to the Church's esteem for Christ's Body present in the consecrated Host in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, carried in solemn procession to the flower-bedecked Altar of Repose, where it will remain 'entombed' until the communion service on Good Friday. No Mass will be celebrated again in the Church until the Easter Vigil proclaims the Resurrection.
And finally, there is the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by the people during the night, just as the disciples stayed with the Lord during His agony on the Mount of Olives before the betrayal by Judas.
There is such an abundance of symbolism in the solemn celebration of the events of Holy Thursday layer upon layer, in fact that we can no more than hint at it in these few words. For many centuries, the Last Supper of Our Lord has inspired great works of art and literature, such as the glorious stained glass window in Chartres cathedral, Leonardo's ever popular (and much imitated) Last Supper in the 16th century, and the reminiscence called Holy Thursday, by the French novelist,François Mauriac, written in the 1930s.
LECTIO DIVINA: HOLY THURSDAY
Lectio Divina: 
 Thursday, April 13, 2017
John 13,1-15 
 The Washing of the Feet

 
1. LECTIO
 a) Initial Prayer
 “When you speak, Lord, the nothingness beats in life: the dry bones become living persons, the desert flourishes… When I get ready to pray I feel dry, I do not know what to say. Evidently, I am not in harmony with your will, my lips are not in tune with my heart, my heart does not make an effort to get in tune with yours. Renew my heart, purify my lips so that I can speak with you as you want me to do it, so that I can speak with others as you wish, so that I can speak with myself, with my interior world, as you wish”. (L. Renna).

b) The Reading of the Gospel

1 Before the festival of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father, having loved those who were his in the world, loved them to the end. 2 They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, 4 and he got up from table, removed his outer garments and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; 5 he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, 'Lord, are you going to wash my feet?' 7 Jesus answered, 'At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.' 8 'Never!' said Peter. 'You shall never wash my feet.' Jesus replied, 'If I do not wash you, you can have no share with me.' Simon Peter said, 9 'Well then, Lord, not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!' 10 Jesus said, 'No one who has had a bath needs washing, such a person is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.' 11 He knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said, 'though not all of you are'. 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments again he went back to the table. 'Do you understand', he said, 'what I have done to you? 13 You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. 14 If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you must wash each other's feet. 15 I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.

c) Moments of prayerful silence

In a loving listening, words are not necessary, because silence also speaks and communicates love.

2. MEDITATIO

a) Preamble to the Passover of Jesus

The passage of the Gospel of today is inserted in a literary whole which includes chapters 13-17. At the beginning we have the account of the Last Supper which Jesus shares with his disciples, during which he fulfils the gesture of the washing of the feet (13, 1-30). Then Jesus interweaves a long dialogue of farewell with his disciples (13, 31 – 14, 31). Chapters 15-17 have the function to deepen further the previous discourse of the Master. Immediately, after this, Jesus is arrested (18, 1-11). In any case, these events narrated in 13, 17,26 are joined already in 13, 1 with the Passover of Jesus. It is interesting to note this last annotation: from 12, 1 the Passover is no longer called the Passover of the Jews, but of Jesus. From now on, it is He, the Lamb of God who will liberate man from sin. The Passover of Jesus is one that aims to liberate man: a new exodus which permits to go from darkness to light (8, 12), and which will bear life and feast in humanity (7, 37).
Jesus is aware that he is about to conclude his journey toward the Father and, therefore he is about to bring to an end his personal and definitive exodus. Such a passage, going to the Father, takes place through the Cross, the central moment in which Jesus will surrender his life for the good of man.
It strikes the reader when he becomes aware how the Evangelist John knows how to present the person of Jesus well, while he is aware of the last events of his life and therefore, of his mission. So as to affirm that Jesus is not crushed or overcome by the events which threaten his life, but that he is ready to give his life. Before, the Evangelist has remarked that his hour had not arrived; but now in the account of the washing of the feet he says that he is aware that his hour is close at hand. Such a conscience is at the basis of the expression of John: “After having loved those who were his in the world, he loved them to the end” (v. 1). Love for “his own”, for those who form the new community, has been evident while he was with them, but it will shine in an eminent way in his death. Jesus shows such a love in the gesture of the washing of the feet, which in its symbolical value, shows the continuous love which is expressed in service.

b) The washing of the feet

Jesus is at an ordinary supper with his disciples. He is fully conscious of the mission which the Father has entrusted to him: the salvation of humanity depends on him. With such an awareness he wishes to show “to his own”, through the washing of the feet, how the work of salvation of the Father is fulfilled and to indicate in such a gesture the surrender of his life for the salvation of man. It is the will of Jesus that man be saved, and a longing desire leads him to give up his life and to surrender. He is aware that the Father gives Jesus complete freedom of action.
Besides, Jesus knows that his true provenance and the goal of his itinerary is God; he knows that his death on the Cross, the maximum expression of his love, is the last moment of his journey of salvation. His death is an “exodus”; it is the climax of his victory over death, in his surrender (giving his life) Jesus reveals to us the presence of God as the fullness of life and exemption from death.
With this full consciousness of his identity and of his complete liberty Jesus is prepared to fulfil the great and humble gesture of the washing of the feet. Such a gesture of love is described with a great number of verbs (eight) which render the scene absorbing, enthralling and full of significance. The Evangelist in presenting the last action of Jesus toward his own, uses this rhetorical figure of the accumulation of verbs without repeating himself in order that such a gesture remains impressed in the heart and mind of his disciples and of every reader and in order that a commandment may always be remembered, not forgotten. The gesture fulfilled by Jesus intends to show that true love is expressed in tangible actions of service. Jesus despoils himself of his garments and ties around his waist a towel or apron, symbol of service. More precisely, Jesus takes off his garments is an expression which expresses the significance of the gift of life. Which is the teaching which Jesus transmits to his disciples through this gesture? He shows them that love is expressed in service, in giving one’s life for others as he has done.
At the time of Jesus the washing of the feet was a gesture which expressed hospitality and welcome towards the guests. In an ordinary way it was done by a slave or also by the wife, concerning the wife and also the daughters toward their father. Besides, it was the custom that such a rite of the washing of the feet should be done before they sat at table and not during the meal. Such an insertion of Jesus’ action intends to stress or underline how singular or significant his gesture was.
And thus, Jesus gets down to wash the feet of his disciples. The repeated use of the apron which Jesus tied around his waist underlines the attitude of service which is a permanent attribute of the person of Jesus. In fact, when he will have finished the washing of the feet, Jesus does not take off the towel which he used as an apron. Such a detail intends to underline that the service-love does not end with his death. This minute detail shows the intention of the Evangelist to wish to underline the significance and importance of the gesture of Jesus. By washing the feet of his disciples Jesus intends to show them his love, which is one with that of the Father (10, 30.38). This image with which Jesus reveals God is really shocking: he is not a Sovereign who resides exclusively in Heaven, but he presents himself as the servant of humanity in order to raise it to the divine level. From this divine service flows, for the community of believers, that liberty which comes from the love which renders all its members as “lords” (free) because they are servants. It is like saying that only liberty creates the true love. From now on, service which the believers will render to man will have as its purpose that of restoring the relationship among men in whom equality and liberty are a consequence of the practice of reciprocal service. Jesus, with his gesture intends to show that any domination o tentative to prevail over man is contrary to the attitude of God who, instead, serves man to raise him to himself. Besides, the pretensions of superiority of one man over another, no longer have any sense, because the community founded by Jesus does not have any pyramidal characteristics, but horizontal dimensions, In which each one is at the service of others, following the example of God and of Jesus.
In synthesis, the gesture which Jesus fulfilled expresses the following values: the love toward the brothers demands to be expressed in fraternal acceptance, hospitality, that is, in permanent service.

c) Peter’s Resistance

The reaction of Peter before the gesture of Jesus is expressed in attitudes of surprise and protest. There is also a change in the way in which he related to Jesus: Peter calls him “Lord” (13, 6). In such a title Jesus is recognized as having a level of superiority which is in conflict with the “washing” of the feet, an action which belongs, instead, to an inferior subject. The protest is expressed energetically by the words: “Are you going to wash my feet?” In Peter’s eyes this humiliating gesture of the washing of the feet seemed to him as an inversion of values which regulate the relationship between Jesus and men: the first one is the Master, Peter is a subject. Peter disapproves the equality which Jesus wants to create among men.
To such misunderstanding Jesus responds inviting Peter to accept the sense of washing his feet as a witness of his love toward him. More precisely, he wants to offer him a concrete proof of how he and the Father love him.
But Peter in his reaction does not give in: he categorically refuses that Jesus should get down at his feet. According to Peter each one should carry out his own role, it is not possible to have a community or a society based on equality. It is not acceptable that Jesus abandons his position of superiority to render himself equal to his disciples. Such an idea of the Master disorientates Peter and leads him to protest. Not accepting the service of love of his Master, he neither accepts that he dies on the cross for him (12, 34; 13, 37). It is as to say that Peter is far away from understanding what is true love, and such an obstacle is an impediment so that Jesus can show it to him by his action.
In the mean time, if Peter is not ready to share the dynamics of love which manifests itself in reciprocal service he cannot share the friendship with Jesus and runs the risk, truly, to exclude himself.
Following the admonition of Jesus “If I do not wash you, you can have no share with me” (v. 8), Peter adheres to the threatening words of the Master, but without accepting the profound sense of the action of Jesus. He shows himself open, ready to let Jesus wash his feet, not only the feet, but also his hands and head. It seems that it is easier for Peter to accept Jesus’ gesture as an action of purification or ablution rather than as a service. But Jesus responds that the disciples have become pure (“clean”) at the moment when they accepted to allow themselves to be guided by the Word of the Master, rejecting that of the world. Peter and the disciples no longer need the Jewish rite of the purification but to allow themselves to have their feet washed by Jesus; or rather to allow themselves to be loved by him, conferring them dignity and liberty.

d) The Memorial of Love

At the end of the washing of the feet Jesus intends to give his action a permanent validity for his community and at the same time to leave to it a memorial or commandment which should always regulate the fraternal relationships.
Jesus is the Lord, not in the dimension of domination, but in so far as he communicates the love of the Father (his Spirit) which makes us children of God and qualified to imitate Jesus who freely gives his love to his own. Jesus intended to communicate such an interior attitude to his own, a love which does not exclude anyone, not even Judas who is about to betray him. Therefore, if the disciples call him Lord, they have to imitate him; if they consider him Master, they have to listen to him.

e) Some question to meditate on

- he got up from the table: How do you live the Eucharist? In a sedentary way or do you allow yourself to be moved to action by the fire of the love which you receive? Do you run the risk that the Eucharist in which you participate is lost in contemplative Narcissism, without leading to the commitment of solidarity and sharing? Your commitment in favour of justice, of the poor, does it come from the habit of encountering Christ in the Eucharist, from the familiarity with him?
- he removed his outer garments: when from the Eucharist you go to daily life, do you know how to remove the garments of your own benefit, your calculations, personal interests to allow yourself to be guided by an authentic love toward others?
Or rather, after the Eucharist you are not capable of removing your garments of domination and of arrogance to put on those of simplicity, of poverty?
- taking a towel he wrapped it around his waist: this is the image of the “Church of the apron”. In the life of your family, of your ecclesial community, do you walk on the street of service, of sharing? Are you directly involved in the service to the poor and to the least? Do you know how to see the face of Christ who asks to be served, loved in the poor?

3. ORATIO

a) Psalm 116 (114-115), 12-13; 15-16; 17-18

The Psalmist who finds himself in the time and in the presence of the liturgical assembly sings his sacrifice of thanksgiving. Voltaire who had a special predilection for v. 12 expressed himself as follows: “What can I offer to the Lord for all the gifts which he has given me?”

What return can I make to Yahweh
for his generosity to me?
I shall take up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of Yahweh.

Costly in Yahweh's sight
is the death of his faithful.
I beg you, Yahweh!
I am your servant,
I am your servant and my mother was your servant;
you have undone my fetters.

I shall offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of Yahweh.
I shall fulfil my vows to Yahweh,
witnessed by all his people

b) Final Prayer

Fascinated with the way in which God expressed his love toward his own, Origin prayed as follows:

Jesus, come, my feet are dirty.
Become a servant for me, pour the water in the basin;
come, wash my feet.
I know it, what I am saying is daring,
but I fear the threat of your words:
“If I do not wash you,
you can have no share with me”.
Wash then my feet,
so that I may have a share with you.
(Homily 5 on Isaiah)

And Saint Ambrose having an ardent desire to correspond to the love of Jesus, expresses himself as follows:

Oh, my Lord Jesus,
allow me to wash your sacred feet;
you got them dirty when you walked in my soul…
But where will I take the water from the fountain
to wash your feet?
In lacking that
I only have the eyes to weep:
bathing your feet with my tears,
do in such a way that I myself remain purified.
(Treatise on penance).