Commentary for today: Thursday, April 9, 2020
Holy Thursday – Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
This evening we begin the holy days of the Paschal Triduum, ending Lent and walking with Jesus to his death and resurrection. These days are about Jesus. But, we too, in the company of Jesus, have our part in the story. Why? Because, we live daily the Paschal Mystery of Life, Death and Resurrection.
As we pray with today’s readings, we can use our imagination and enter the scenes presented to us through Scripture.
It was the summer of 2001 when I was at the Jesuit Retreat House, Eastern Point, MA, praying through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola in the 30-day retreat offered that year. Not to jump ahead to Easter, but it was my prayer of the 4th week, of discovering the resurrected Christ and sharing in the joy of finding him, alive!
There I was in Gloucester, MA, at the harbor-side Fisherman’s Memorial to those lost at sea. Also, a new statue of the women who watched and waited for the boats to return had been erected. Where was I to meet Jesus this day? I am one of the women who was with him the final days of his life.
My imagination took me onto a boat. Its name, the Lumen Christi (The Light of Christ). While walking across the deck, I tripped over a bucket of water which spilled over my feet and I am flat on deck. Feeling like a klutz, a man came up to me, kindly gave me his hand and helped me up. I sat down on a small keg feeling foolish and sore. Without judgement or comment, he tended my bruised knees, then gently took a towel and began to dry my feet. It was at that moment I recognized him, Christ, the risen Jesus on his knees before me! He invited me to journey on the Lumen Christi into the future, doing what he has done, in memory of him. He invited me to share his story, and do what he has done with care in service to others and creation. Lumen Christi would be my way.
Today, we recall God’s loving, ancient fidelity. Let us be with Jesus in the breaking of bread, and as he washes and dries the feet of the apostles. How can we be with Jesus by being bread for others, and servant, as a sign, symbol and sacrament of Christ’s presence? To be Eucharist! Through our baptism, are we not anointed to be his presence and to carry on the work of the Gospel? We were anointed to carry on all that we have been taught as disciples. We are invited to be as he was. Our lives are given and shared, broken and eaten in loving service and too, at times, sacrifice.
Also, today the sacred oils were blessed at the Chrism Mass. These oils are the sacramental sign and symbol for anointing at life’s important moments, recognizing God with us. These are times when we are blessed with the oils recognizing a sacramental, holy life at birth, illness, death, commitment, and the call we each have to discipleship, in whatever path we choose. The Spirit of the Lord is upon us because we have been anointed!
May this Easter Triduum be an opportunity to be with Jesus, as we hear his story, reflect on his arrest, betrayal, trial, death and pray with him into the joy of his resurrected presence — one day at a time. May we stand in awe of this great gift of the Paschal Mystery. May we know God’s loving fidelity.
Jesus asks, “Do you realize what I have done for you?”