Holy Thursday


Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lords Supper revolves around the initiation of the Holy Eucharist.It also emphasizes its origins in the Passover meal, and with the washing of the feet Jesus command to “love one another as I have loved you” is reinforced.It also begins the Agony in the Garden when the Eucharist is removed from the Church, the altars stripped bare, and the festive occasion turns mournful as the event leads into Good Friday. Each aspect of this Mass deserves attention. It is the beginning of that Eucharist that is celebrated at Mass every day. Its link to the Passover meal brings together the Old and New Testament.It is in the washing of the feet that Jesus message of “love one another as I love you” is given special significance. This is the only Mass of the year where this tradition of the washing of the feet takes place. That message of love one another is proclaimed by the washing, but its emphasis begins with the stripping of the altar and the removal of that Eucharist from the Church. It is with those two events that the light of the Mass of the Lords Supper revert to the darkness of Good Friday. The events of Good Friday have been celebrated in art and in literature. They give glory to Christs sacrifice, yet they also mask the true horrors of that event when “love one another” was an exception rather than the rule. The stripping of the altar is the stripping of life. Along with Christs crucifixion with the two criminals, that ancient world knew thousands upon thousands who hung on a cross. It knew stoning, and scourging, and immolation. It knew the horrors of being outcast due to disease and deformity supposed the result of Gods curse,Gods refusal to love. If God could not love those who suffered misfortune, under what obligation are we to love the decrepit individuals? “Love one another, as I love you” was and is a radical and supremely important message. It is the message of the Passion of Christ that radiates throughout the horrors of Good Friday. Sometimes the thing that brings the most emphasis to that message of love, is when that love disappears if just for a day. That love gone is an altar stripped, and a tabernacle empty, and a reminder of the cruelty that ruled before Easter.

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