01Apr April 1, 2021. Holy Thursday. Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

April 1, 2021

Holy Thursday – Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

1st Reading: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14

The Passover is a day of festival for all generations, for ever

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:

‘This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.”’

Responsorial: from Psalm 116

R./: 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./)

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./)

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./)

2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

When we proclaim Christ’s saving death in bread and wine, it makes him ever present with us

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which 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 Lord’s death until he comes.

Gospel: John 13:1-15

The example of Jesus washing their feet shows us how to live

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples” feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.” After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord-and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.

How to join in the Last Supper

When Jesus says, “Do this in memory of me!” clearly he means us to understand what “This” was and is. What exactly had he in mind through the symbols of the broken bread and the shared cup of wine? We need to get behind the formal Catechism answer about the “holy sacrifice of the Mass,” and think anew about the meaning of that paschal meal. The Last Supper was celebrated in the context of the Jewish Passover meal and tonight’s first reading explains the meaning of this feast. In words and symbols it recalled the greatest saving act of God in the Old Testament, the exodus from Egypt, setting God’s people free from slavery. It opens us up to the idea that God enters our lives to save us and set us free from whatever oppresses us. So “opened up,” we are prepared for the good news that the definitive saving work of God is done in and by Jesus Christ.

We reflect on what St John calls the “hour” of Jesus, the high point of his saving work, the new exodus, his passing from this world to the Father through which he brought into being a new relationship between God and us human beings. Sharing in this new exodus is our ultimate liberation, freeing us from enslavement to material things and petty self-interest and setting us free to love generously, the very purpose for which we were originally created in the image of God. Through his love-without-limit, in his own utterly unselfish heart Jesus overcame all human selfishness and with it, human sin. Precisely this love, which the Father wants us all to have and to share, is the very heart of Jesus’ exodus. It is just this self-giving kind of love which Jesus wants to be kept alive among us. With his disciples in the Last Supper he anticipated his death for us on the cross, giving himself in the sacramental symbols of bread and wine. From then on the celebration of our Eucharist is the living memorial through which we are joined to Our Lord’s saving act of love. It is our way to share in the new exodus, to be freed from the isolation of self-concern so that they become fully human as God wants us to be.

St John implies that we are united with Jesus by letting him wash our feet, accepting his great act of loving service. Having accepted the gift we must embrace it as a value to practice in our lives. What Jesus does for us in his Passion shows us how to live. In some real sense, we must live like Jesus, “for” God and others. There is a close link between Jesus washing their feet and then their going on to wash the feet of others in the future. If the Eucharist is the place where the Lord washes our feet, daily life is the place where we can wash the feet of others. Eucharist leads to life leads to Eucharist. True Eucharist piety must lead to service of others. Jesus who broke the bread of the Eucharist also washed the feet of his disciples. We must follow his example both at the altar of the Eucharist and at the altar of life.

The washing of the feet

There is much more to the washing of the feet than an example of humble service. The act of loving service goes to the heart of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The “lifting up” in John’s Gospel is truly an act of loving service. The words at the start of this reading make that clear: Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. These words make it clear that whatever happens next points most deeply to the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Can we accept such astonishing love from God?


3 Responses

  1. Thara Benedicta

    Key Message:

    Love others whole-heartedly: Your home will become heaven now and later heaven will become your home.



    Jesus sweating blood in the garden of Gethsemane:

    Sin started from the garden of Eden. Salvation started from the garden of Gethsemane when Jesus sweated blood and the blood drops of Jesus fell in the garden.

    1. Jesus was undergoing terrible times in the garden. What was the one and only instruction He gave to His disciples?
    Jesus told them to “pray”.

    Reflection: Are we praying to derive strength from God or are we diverting to alcohol, smoking or movies to free us from frustration? We do not have resort to prayer because we think we will feel bored or we feel there is no hope in consolation through prayer.

    Practically, please resort to prayer. You will find peace beyond all understanding through prayer. Meditate by seeing Jesus on the cross. Focus on the different kinds of pain He had to undergo while hanging on the cross. If Jesus underwent such a terrible suffering for you, will not He take care of His trivial problems? Our Lord Jesus has said “Look at the birds of the air… grass of the field… If our Heavenly Father takes care of them, will not He take care of your trials?”

    2. Jesus asked His disciples “Can’t you pray for an hour?”
    Out of 24 hours in a day, can we try praying for an hour daily?

    3. Jesus also needed company in His agony. In other instances in the Bible, we read that Jesus went alone before day break to pray. But during His agony, He chose three of His friends to pray. Are we a friend in need?

    4. Jesus accomplished and completed all the tasks God our Father had assigned Him. Jesus also faced temptation, hunger, thirst, no place to put down His head for resting, opposition from people, betrayal from friends, shame, pain… the pain list goes on. But He made it through till the end as He was holding on to prayer ardently.

    5. Jesus always ensured that the will of God be done, even when the sweat of blood was falling on the ground. Can we try saying in our prayers too – ‘Let not my will but yours be done’?

    Jesus washing the feet of disciples:

    Jesus taught us by an example how to love one another, without pride, inclusive of those who hate us. God did not call us to point fingers at each other’s mistakes. He called us to love and serve one another, irrespective of their weakness. The weaknesses of the Apostles did not prevent Jesus from washing their feet. He washed the feet of Judas too, even though He already knew that Judas was going to betray Him.

    Actually it is very difficult to wash the feet of someone who is trying to harm us. But it is the same lesson that our beloved Lord taught us by washing the feet of Judas. Hence, let us also be kind to someone who is wounding us.

    Reflection: The cycle of God’s love in our lives is completed only when we pour out the love which God pours into our heart, into someone else’s heart.

    Are we taking efforts to love someone who does not care for us?

    1. Serving without pride is the real service. Though Jesus was God, He tied the towel around His waist, washed the disciples feet and wiped them with the towel like a slave. Are we able to treat all the people with respect?

    2. Some people have a paranoia that if they treat the janitor with respect, then other colleagues will not respect them. The truth is, the colleagues will soon be able to find the difference and respect from you from their hearts, because of your righteous living.

    3. We can chose someone who is hating us, and start showing them some acts of love. We may not feel love or affection towards them in our heart. Even if we do not feel the love in our hearts, let us obey our Lord Jesus and do some acts of charity to them. Our dear Jesus will certainly recompense us and make the hearts of those who hate us also love us.

    4. We can avoid talking about how cruel or indifferent others have been to us. It is ok to share in our close circle of friends in an intention to relieve the pain if it is unbearable. God will vindicate those who hurt His children.

    5. Let us not wait for a situation to knock on your door to become a blessing for someone. We can always show our love by our little caresses. One day I was in a sitting queue, waiting for my turn to meet the doctor. One elderly aunty who was also a patient took keen notice of other patients who were struggling to sit without back support. She always ensured that they got a seat with something to lean on. Her love and care brought smiles to many faces there. They felt that they were cared for.


  2. Joe O'Leary

    “Ave verum corpus natum ex Maria virgine, vere passum, immolatum, in cruce pro homine.” This text, possibly from the pen of Innocent III used to be recited at the Consecration of the Mass, and has been lovingly set by Catholic composers such as Byrd, Mozart, and Elgar. It affirms the reality of Christ’s body, really born of a woman, really suffering pain, over against the Docetist temptation to whisk away the physicality as unworthy of the divine.
    Christ is a gift from above, and the completeness of the gift is shown in the total involvement of his body, from cradle to grave. But his self-giving continues in the Eucharist—“This is my body.” The presence of the Risen one in our midst is not just the presence of his memory, or his words, or the community he founded as his mystical body, but the real presence of his body, born in Bethlehem and crucified on Golgotha, and now transfigured in glory. God’s gift of his beloved son is sealed in this symbolic meal in which all the dimensions of his being and his saving death and resurrection are concentrated. “This is the bread from heaven that gives life to the world” (Jn 6:33).

  3. Joe O'Leary

    The translation of the Roman Canon was the best part of the English version of the Roman Missal, but the present translation is the worst part of the horrible text imposed on the English speaking world by people who did not know what they were doing.

    Bishops now admit that they “dropped the ball” in giving the go-ahead to this horrible translation.

    Yesterday the liturgy was going splendidly until I found myself trapped, thanks to the disposition of the Missal, inside the new translation of the Roman Canon, which is sawdust and worse than sawdust.

    ‘The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.’

    How could the church sabotage its own liturgy?