Holy Thursday 2022

April 14, 2022
Holy Thursday

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, as supper time falls slowly from east to west over the Earth, so will Christians worldwide seek communion with Christ and the believing community.

A great surge of intentional communion will join us in an irrepressible wave of faith. The evening skies will echo with the precious words that, despite whatever distances, gather us into one people in Christ:

Jesus 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.

Our Gospel reminds us that there are two equally significant dimensions to a full understanding of Eucharist:

  • the Body and Blood we share in Eucharist
  • the sacrificial service we live daily among the People of God
    who are the living Body of Christ for us.

In these times of worldly suffering and war, that second dimension sustains us.

foot

Eucharist is offered when we wash the feet of our sisters and brothers:

  • by those who tend and comfort the sick, poor, war ravaged, and desolate.
  • by the suffering themselves who endure in faith and hope 
  • by those who serve other’s needs for sustenance and safety
  • by those who pray for the healing, courage and restoration of all Creation 
  • by each one of us as we turn from self toward the good of the Whole

As Jesus leans to wash the feet of his disciples, so may we lean in service over our suffering world. Jesus asks us:

Do you realize what I, your Lord and Master, have done for you?

bowl

We do not realize fully, Lord, what You have done for us.

But we are daily learning a new depth of understanding.

The realization rises like a slow dawn over the shadows of our selfishness.
It is a sunrise which continues throughout our lives.
Please help us to rise with You no matter how the darkness weighs on us.

Like the fragile bread and fluid wine which hide your Omnipotent Presence,
may we become holy nourishment and joy for one another
– a true and living memorial to your infinite act of love for us.


Prose Prayer: excerpts from Mass on the World – Pierre Teilhard De Chardin, SJ

Receive, O Lord, this all-embracing host which your whole creation, moved by your magnetism, offers you at this dawn of a new day.


This bread, our toil, is of itself, I know, but an immense fragmentation; this wine, our pain, is no more, I know, than a draught that dissolves. Yet in the very depths of this formless mass you have implanted — and this I am sure of, for I sense it — a desire, irresistible, hallowing, which makes us cry out, believer and unbeliever alike:
‘Lord, make us one.’


You have come down, Lord, into this day which is now beginning. But alas, how infinitely different in degree is your presence for one and another of us in the events which are now preparing and which all of us together will experience! In the very same circumstances which are soon to surround me and my fellow-men you may be present in small measure, in great measure, more and more or not at all.
Therefore, Lord, that no poison may harm me this day, no death destroy me, no wine befuddle me, that in every creature I may discover and sense you, I beg you: give me faith.


Music: Pange Lingua – Chant of the Mystics
Written by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century
English lyrics below

Sing, my tongue, the Saviour’s glory,
Of His Flesh, the mystery sing;
Of the Blood, all price exceeding,
Shed by our Immortal King,
Destined, for the world’s redemption,
From a noble Womb to spring.

Of a pure and spotless Virgin
Born for us on earth below,
He, as Man, with man conversing,
Stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
Then He closed in solemn order
Wondrously His Life of woe.

On the night of that Last Supper,
Seated with His chosen band,
He, the Paschal Victim eating,
First fulfils the Law’s command;
Then as Food to all his brethren
Gives Himself with His own Hand.

Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
By His Word to Flesh He turns;
Wine into His Blood He changes:
What though sense no change discerns.
Only be the heart in earnest,
Faith her lesson quickly learns.

Down in adoration falling,
Lo, the sacred Host we hail,
Lo, o’er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail:
Faith for all defects supplying,
When the feeble senses fail.

To the Everlasting Father
And the Son who comes on high
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
Amen.

Holy Thursday

Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

April 1, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 116 which Walter Bruggemann calls an example of “the performance of thanks”. 

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.

Psalm 116: 12-13

There is a tone of solemn ritual woven through the psalm, just as there is throughout the Holy Thursday liturgies.

The time of waiting and wondering is over. Jesus chooses the Passover meal to formalize his understanding that the time has come to offer his life in an ultimate sacrifice of praise.

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.

John 13:1

The Last Supper by the nun Plautilla Nelli (1524–1588) of Florence
Inscribed: Suor Plautilla · Orate Pro Pictora (Pray for the Paintress)

It is likely that, during his Last Supper, Jesus would have prayed, and possibly sung, Psalm 116 as part of the ancient Hallel,  six thanksgiving prayers included in the Passover rites. 

On our behalf, Jesus is about to enflesh in his own life the redemptive promise awaited through the ages. He is about to enact the Great Deliverance — far greater than that achieved in the Passover. By the power of his Paschal sacrifice, we are redeemed from death itself:

Return, my soul, to your rest;
the LORD has been very good to you.
For my soul has been freed from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the LORD
in the land of the living

Psalm 116: 7-9

For me, Holy Thursday is the most solemnly beautiful and meaningful day of the Liturgical Year. There is so much to be found in the readings, especially as we peel back single phrases to hear their living power and love. There is so much to be learned at the side of Jesus as we pray with Him.

May we place ourselves beside Jesus at the holy table of his life. Feel him lay the gathering tensions down as he gathers his beloveds in the truth of this moment. It is time for him to give everything over in love. This is the moment of Holy Acquiescence, this is the moment of Eucharist.

With Jesus, let us pray for the loosening of any bonds which prevent us from giving our lives lovingly into God’s Will for us, from allowing Eucharist to be offered through our lives.

Dear to the eyes of the LORD
    is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the child of your handmaid;
    you have loosed my bonds.
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.

Psalm 116: 15-18

Prose: from Mass on the World, by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Since once again Lord 
I have neither bread nor wine nor altar,
I will raise myself beyond these symbols 
up to the pure majesty of the real itself.
 
I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar, 
and on it I will offer you 
all the labors and the sufferings of the world.
 
I will place on my paten Lord God 
all the harvest to be won from your renewal. 

Into my chalice, I shall pour all the sap 
which is to be pressed out this day 
from the earth’s fruits and from its sufferings.
 
All the things in the world 
to which this day will bring increase; 
all those that will diminish; 
all those, too, that will die: 
all of them, Lord, I try to gather into my arms 
so as to hold them out to you in offering.
 
This is the material of my sacrifice, 
the only material you desire.
The restless multitude, confused or orderly, 
the immensity of which terrifies us, 
this ocean of humanity, 
the slow, monotonous wave-flows which trouble the hearts 
of even those whose faith is most firm.
 
My paten and my chalice are 
the depths of a soul laid widely open 
to all the forces which in a moment will rise up 
from every corner of the earth 
and converge upon the Spirit. 

Grant me the remembrance and the mystic presence 
of all those whom the light is now awakening to the new day.
Receive, O Lord, this all-embracing Host
which your whole creation, moved by your magnetism, 
offers you at this dawn of a new day.
 
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt cæli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.

Music: Sanctus – Jessie Norman

(Get someplace where you can turn the sound up for this and let it blow you away. There are some exquisite soft notes, beginning and end, that you don’t want to miss. Wait for them.)

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday, April 18, 2019

Click here for readings.

 Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the gift of the Eucharist, infinitely profound in meaning and effect.

John13_12

 The scripture passages for this evening’s liturgy are filled with symbols to help us pray with this profundity:

  • the Lamb
  • its exonerating blood on the lintel
  • the blessing-cup of Psalm 116
  • the bread
  • the wine
  • the towel, basin and water

 There is an action connected to each of these symbols which actualizes its meaning:

  •  sacrifice – the Lamb
  • sign– its exonerating blood on the lintel
  • lifting– the blessing-cup of Psalm 116
  • breaking – the bread
  • pouring– the wine
  • washing – the towel, basin and water

 With his final command in today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us how important action is for those who want to follow him:

 I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you,
you should also do.

 As we look at our own lives on this Holy Thursday, what symbol and action speak to our hearts?

  • Is there a sacrifice we are called to make for the sake of goodness in the world?
  • Are there signs of our faith that we need to make evident?
  • Do we lift up our praise to God in all aspects of our life?
  • What needs to be broken and poured for Christ to be fully alive in us?
  • How are we called to be servant like Him?

 On Holy Thursday, Jesus makes it clear that sacrament and service are inextricably tied to each other. As his followers, it is not enough to venerate the symbols. They must be memorialized in our loving actions for one another.

 Dear Friends, on this beautiful feast of Christic Love,
let us pray wholeheartedly for one another.
I promise you that in a special way today.

 Music: two offerings today

 Pange Lingua- traditional Holy Thursday hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas 

 Song for Holy Thursday – English rendering of the Pange Lingua