Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maundy Thursday

Can you believe Lent is nearly over? This has been an active on for LuAnn and I with our faith, our church and our family. There has been hardly any room for business but it has went on. It will get much more active after Easter this Sunday but the memories of this Lent will linger.

"Holy Thursday is the most complex and profound of all religious observances, save only for the Easter Vigil. It celebrates Christ’s institution of the Holy Eucharist and the Sacerdotal Priesthood and commemorates Christ’s never-ending love for His disciples, most of whom would desert, betray, or deny Him a few hours after that gathering.

In His Last Supper, a celebration of Passover, Jesus is the self-offered Passover Victim, and every ordained priest to this day presents this same sacrifice, by Christ’s authority and command, in exactly the same way: “Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying. ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’ ’’ (Luke 22:19-20)

For many centuries, the Last Supper has inspired great works of art and literature such as Leonardo da Vinci’s popular Last Supper in the 16th century, Joey Velasco’s Last Supper which featured street children, the glorious stained glass window in Chartres Cathedral, and a reminiscence called Holy Thursday, by the French novelist Francois Mauriac, written in the 1930s.

A special mass is celebrated in all the cathedral churches of the world on the morning of Holy Thursday, participated in by the bishop and as many priests of the diocese as can attend, because it is a solemn observance of Christ’s institution of the priesthood at the Last Supper. At this “Chrism Mass,’’ the bishop also blesses the Oil of Chrism used for baptism, confirmation, and anointing of the sick or dying.

The evening Holy Thursday Liturgy marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the sacred Triduum of Holy Week, which culminates in the Easter Vigil. In His desire to show both the worth God ascribes to the humility of service and the need for cleansing, Jesus decided to first strip his outer garments and wash the feet of His apostles before partaking of His Last Supper with them (Jn 13:3-5). It is this cleansing on the part of Jesus which gave this day of Holy Week the name Maundy Thursday.

If the Eucharist is the place where the Lord washes our feet, daily life is the place where we ought to wash the feet of others. We must follow His example both at the altar of the Eucharist and at the altar of life."

Tomorrow is our own "Climb to Calvary." Our church is leaving Fayetteville at 7:30 AM to climb the steps in Mt. Adams to Holy Cross-Immaculata Church at the top of Mount Adams in Cincinnati.

It all brings to mind why we are here and what we are to do.

May the Lord be with you.

Ed Winkle

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