Homily – Holy Thursday MMIX 4/9/9

Homily – Holy Thursday  MMIX                4/9/9

On the morning of that First Holy Thursday, the disciples asked Jesus Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?

And St. Mark tells us, in words we read this past Palm Sunday, that Jesus gave his disciples these detailed instructions:

The first thing, Jesus said, you must Go into the city (Jerusalem) and a man will meet you, carrying a vessel of water.

And for the past 2009 years, those who wish to Eat the Passover with Our Blessed Lord Jesus must also abide by those instructions:

You and I must first enter the New Jerusalem on earth, the Holy Catholic Church.

And upon entering the Holy Catholic Church for the first time, we like the disciples met a man, carrying a vessel of water.  He poured the water over our head, Baptizing us in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus told his disciples that first Holy Thursday that once they had entered the city and were met by the man with the water, to follow him.  He will lead them to a large, upper room, furnished and ready.

There, in that upper room, raised above ground level,

and here, in this upper room, on this Altar which the laws of our Holy Church require be raised above the congregation level,

There and here will take place on this night, the Passover of Our Lord.

That first Holy Thursday afternoon, the disciples sent by Jesus into the city found that large upper room all furnished and ready.

The table was all set:  finest white linen table cloth, candles, 13 mats to recline on, 13 plates, 13 cups, one of them, the nicest one, The Cup which would be used.

A large flagon of new red wine, a large, freshly baked round loaf of unleavened bread, and bitter herbs.

Furnished and ready, all prepared with the perfection of Martha, with the prayerfulness of Mary Magdalene, and with the unfathomable love of the Mother of Jesus for Her Son and Lord.

All had been prepared beforehand for this night.  All was now ready for a Supper which had been in preparation since before the dawn of Creation.

All that had gone before was a preparation for this night.  The Creation, The Old Testament were a preparation, The Incarnation, The Holy Infancy, The Public Ministry of Jesus were a preparation.

It was all now furnished and ready.

And tonight in this Upper Room, Our Lord makes all things new.

A new commandment,
A new priesthood,
A new and everlasting Covenant in His Body and Blood broken and shed for us.

He gives us tonight this New Commandment to Love one another as He has loved us.

There was nothing more humiliating for a Jew in Jesus’ day than to wash another person’s feet.  But Jesus teaches us that in our service to one another, no task should be too humiliating for us to perform.

But as humiliating as feet washing is, it pales in comparison to the humiliation of being stripped and scourged and crowned with thorns and nailed almost naked to a cross.

But Jesus says you and I are to love one another as He has loved us, even to death on a Cross.

Jesus realized that His new commandment would be difficult, if not impossible, for us to carry out, left on our own.

This is why Jesus gives us tonight a New Food to strengthen us, to enable us to live out the New Commandment of Love:  the Holy Eucharist.

Through the Eucharist we find strength to live as Christ calls us to live, through partaking of the Eucharist we can love one another as Jesus loves us.

The Eucharist is essential for our living a Christian life.  Unless you eat of the flesh of the son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.

Jesus realized we needed the Eucharist, or else the journey through life would be too long for us, and we wouldn’t reach our destiny.

And so that we would until the end of time always have in the Church this Eucharistic Food, Jesus on the Night of the Last Supper instituted the New Priesthood of His New Covenant.

Do this, you Twelve, and your successors after you, in memory of my Passion and Death.

So we pray tonight for all priests, that Jesus would renew them in their total commitment to serve Christ and His Church.

We also pray for those young men Jesus is calling to be priests.    In the book of the prophet Jerimiah we read the Lord saying: Before you were born I called youin your mother’s womb I consecrated you.  Many, if not all priests, are called from the womb to renounce marriage and family and career for the higher calling of the priesthood.

Today, there are so many obstacles for young men to hear God’s call.  Our prayers, and especially the prayers of parents and grandparents, are more important than ever for the sake of those young men in our parish that Jesus is calling to the priesthood in years to come.

And so, tonight we thank Jesus for having all things furnished and ready beforehand for us to partake of His Passover with Him.

May He give us this Holy Thursday a deeper and stronger love for the Holy Eucharist, a deeper respect and love for the Priesthood, and through these things may He enable us to live out ever more fully the New Commandment of sacrificial Love He gives us this night.

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