April 1, 2021
by Tom Quinn
Creighton University - retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

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

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-15

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Our readings today cover the time of the first Passover, and our continuing link with this memorial many thousands of years later. The Lord told the people at the first Passover that this day "shall be a memorial feast for you." A physical salvation of the first-born children of Israel was, and is, a great reason to gather, pray and remember.

Even Our Lord and his disciples gather near the time of the Passover. We read today, however, not of a traditional Passover celebrated by Jesus and this disciples, but rather a simple meal non-the-less replete with the symbolism and anticipation of our eternal spiritual salvation.

The season of Lent may have been one burden too many for many of us who are enduring the current major epidemic, if we did not know the glorious outcome at Easter of the sorrow and agony-filled events of the passion of Jesus. Our fasting and lamentation is also assuaged by the many gifts and lessons that Jesus reveals to us during the last Lenten days.

Jesus gathered his disciples for what he knew would be his last meal with them. Their last supper was not a Seder; it was held on Thursday before Passover had begun, and lacked important symbolic foods. Jesus, instead, focused the apostles' attention on the bread, which he said, "Is my body," and the wine which he said, "Is my blood."

Whenever the apostles gathered in Jesus' name, from that time on, the wine and bread would remind them of him. It would, in fact, be his body and blood, our Eucharist. We will never be without Jesus. Our hearts brace today for the recounting of the agony that Jesus endured on Good Friday. We are also quietly aware of the glory that is coming, and we do not despair.

Jesus had another purpose for gathering his friends the day before his crucifixion; he wished to underline the importance of serving and loving one another. When he stripped his outer clothing and put a towel about to wash their feet like a servant. Peter was not about to let this happen. The lesson, however, was soon apparent to all of them; Jesus was vehement in telling Peter and the other disciples, that they must allow this or they would part ways. Jesus, The Lord, and Our God humbled himself to serve all of us. What possible reason an we have for not loving and serving any person that God has created? Jesus underlined humility, love and service in the last hours with the disciples.

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