HOLY THURSDAY REFLECTION 2020
As Lent 2020 draws to a close, a moment of reflection is in order. We are staying home to do our part to stop any spread of the Coronavirus. Some may feel alone, we all feel isolated. This is not normal, since it is not ordinary, we can refer to this time as extra-ordinary. Not so long ago we were among friends and co-workers, we were dining out, going where we pleased, shopping and running errands. In a matter of days things changed – we are quarantined, told not be with our friends, and fellow employees. How things change so quickly. But one day our activities will resume, and we will go about our lives thankful for the freedom and the awareness we survived.
Tonight, as the evening mass of the Lord’s Supper begins, Lent ends – the Triduum begins. These few days from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday are the most significant days in our liturgy, our prayer our collective work together to give thanks and praise Almighty God, His only begotten Son and the relationship and love between the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit. We won’t be gathered in one big space, we will be scattered all over, our prayer will not come from just one building but from homes and apartments - this joyful sound of the people will fill the landscape and rise to the heavens from the four corners of the compass. This one liturgy of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, demonstrate our love and community of faith in the risen Lord. Our “AMEN” and our “AND WITH YOUR SPIRIT” as well as the "LORDS PRAYER" originating from all over and making a joyful sound to God.
Last Sunday we celebrated Jesus coming into Jerusalem, a great time and a joyous celebration. People who had been working and shopping, stopped for a moment to see Jesus, on a humble beast of burden (not a triumphant horse). A few days later he gathered for a meal with his “co-workers” and his friends. A memorable meal, the Seder meal, where the Jewish people celebrated their departure from Egypt. But Jesus did some extra ordinary things during the celebration. He took, blessed, broke and gave bread to his disciples, he blessed and shared the wine. These simple elements, common food and drink, Jesus told us were His body and blood, and we were to do this action in memory of Him. He then further departed from the norm, he took of His cloak and washed their feet (something a master would not even ask his slave to do). He tells them again to do this for each other, a sign of humility, a sign of service. Then they went for a walk – where? - in a garden. Jesus knows he has come to save us from that occurrence in the first garden – where sin entered the world. Sin and Redemption have their origin in a garden.
His closest friends can’t stay awake with him, after all their stomachs are full and a nap is in order! Something big is soon to happen and he prays, not that his human self be relieved of the agony, but that God’s will be done. He is here on this earth to do the will of the Father – as we all are… here to do the will of the Father.
He is taken prisoner; even though he had done nothing wrong. Placed in isolation, unable to visit with family or friends. Feeling alone, feeling abandoned; knowing that it will end, but when (sound familiar?) He knew there was a bigger purpose, he knew he must let things “play out” as it was in God’s hands on God’s time. His humanness may not have liked what was going on, he was isolated and alone. But he knew God has a plan, he placed all His trust in His Father.
Tonight’s liturgy -the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper has been adopted in our Diocese and around the world. No foot washing after the homily, no movement of the Eucharist from the sanctuary to the altar of repose. No keeping watch through the night.
What will be usual for this Mass, Jesus Christ is tonight, as at every Mass, the principal celebrant. We live that night he instituted the Eucharist; we celebrate the gift we are given - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We recognize and celebrate the institution of the priesthood, holy men dedicating their lives in service to the Gospel who rightly administer the Sacraments and lead us to the Kingdom. We give thanks for these gifts, for this opportunity – tucked away in our homes to celebrate, to make a joyful noise to the Lord, to come together in the one belief that Jesus Christ is our Savior, our Redeemer, our Sanctifier. He is the Bread of Life, the Living Water, He is the One. He alone was in isolation awaiting his trial; he alone was scourged; he alone was crucified on a wooden cross – the byproduct of a tree – to redeem us from the sin that was a byproduct of a tree in the Garden of Eden.
- more tomorrow, on Good Friday