Fr. Sanctus Mario
Inspiration and Bible Reflections

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Holy Thursday Breakfast with Word: Love As Jesus Loves.

HOLY THURSDAY BREAKFAST WITH THE WORD.

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Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Gospel John 13:1-15

 

Holy Thursday commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist and the Priesthood. The Eucharist is the food that God has generously made available to nourish us on our spiritual journey to eternity.

 

The institution of the Holy Eucharist by Christ on Holy Thursday equally marks the institution of the ministerial priesthood. So, the priesthood is also God’s gift to His church. This means that it is God who freely calls.

 

The mystical nature of the priesthood derives from the priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest. This mystical nature reaches its fullness at the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday and every Mass. That is the consecration of bread and wine, which is transformed into the real body and blood of Christ.

Secondly, Holy Thursday is also called Maundy Thursday by many. This is because of the mandate that Jesus gave during the celebration of the Last Supper.

 

Maundy’ is from the word Mandatum (Mandate) which is taken from the Gospel of John 13:34: “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you”). Everything that happened at the Lord’s supper is proof of how Jesus loves us and wants us to do the same.

 

Read More.

 

Matthew 26:14-25. Judas’ Betrayal and Our Own Betrayal.

When We walk Away from the Light

Our Love for Jesus: How to Show the Love for Him

Behind Every Victory: Palm Sunday Reflection

The Reason Jesus Died.

 

 

A. The Institution of the Holy Eucharist.

 

On Holy Thursday, the Church celebrates the institution of the Holy Eucharist. Let us analyse this step by step.

 

(i)The Prefiguration

 

1. In the Gospel of John 13, the last supper that Jesus shares with his disciples took place before the Passover meal. The Synoptic Gospels; Matthew 26:17-25; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-13 said that Jesus ate the last supper on the first day of unleavened bread.

 

According to John’s narration, Jesus will die on the Day of Preparation for the Passover (John 19:31), at the time that the Passover sacrifices would begin in the temple.

 

This presents Jesus as the lamb, the Passover Lamb, ”the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).

So, when the priest at the altar says “behold the lamb of God”, he raises the consecrated host and enjoins all to behold Jesus whose sacrifice delivered us as God delivered the Israelites during the moment of their slavery. Hence, this is a reminder of who Jesus is and His sacrifice for us.

 

2. Remember that in the first reading, God told Moses, that on the fourteenth day of the month, and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, the lamb shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight.

 

Bible exegetes further explained that it was at the exact hour of killing this lamb of sacrifice by the evening twilight, that Jesus died on the cross. A sign that Jesus is the prefiguration of the Lamb without blemish, whose blood sprinkled at their doorposts saved them from the anger of God: When I see the blood I will pass over you (Exodus 12:13).

 

 

(ii)This is My Body and Blood

 

Though not recorded in today’s gospel of Holy Thursday but in the context of the Passover meal, Jesus said a blessing as He took the unleavened bread and the cup of wine. Jesus said “ Take all of you and eat, This is my body” given for you,” He said. For the wine, He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.”

 

1.Wherever we see the word “this”, it points to something. “This is” is a reference to something that happened.

So, when Jesus was raising a bread, He said, “Take it and eat, this is my body” (Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19).

 

Hence with this word, Jesus is saying that the bread He raises is no longer bread but His flesh. Hence, this is a confirmation that the bread is no longer ordinarily bread but His flesh.

 

He did the same to the wine. And said it will be shed for you. Remember He was saying that while raising a wine but was talking about His blood, a sign that the wine is not ordinary wine but His blood.

 

2. When Jesus was raising the bread and the wine, He was referring to the species as His body and blood, but what the apostles were seeing at that time are the bread and wine. Hence deep inside and beyond the physical eyes, the species they see, go beyond mere ordinary bread and wine.

This is what happens at the mass. When the priest raises the host and wine, we see only the bread and wine but beyond what we see, there is the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

 

3. Before Jesus proclaimed words on the bread and wine, they are ordinary bread. But after Jesus speaks over them, the bread and wine mystically and spiritually become His body and blood.

 

This is also what happens at the Holy Mass. Before the consecration, the host and wine are ordinary bread and wine but when the priest who stands as the Personae Christi speaks over them with the words of consecration, it goes beyond mere bread and wine to become the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

 

This is an opener to those who joke and play with the Eucharist. Today, many treat the body and blood of Jesus Christ as if it is not sacred.

Today, we receive Jesus even in a heart full of sin, committing sacrilege. When we enter the church sometimes, we make noise and forget we are in the presence of God. Let us always handle the Holy Eucharist with respect.

 

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4. During the last supper, when Jesus raises the body and blood, He also said “Take it and eat”, Take it and drink”. Hence Jesus commands all His disciples to eat this food often.

This is a command. It is not under probability. So, accepting not to be receiving Holy communion is also disobedience to this command. The question then is “when did we receive the Holy communion last?”.

 

5. We truly deny ourselves some spiritual food when we do not attempt to receive the body of Christ. 

In John 6:53, Jesus says, if you do not eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Therefore, the body and blood of Christ give life to the soul. To receive graces from God, always receive Him at the Holy Mass.

 

(ii) Do This in Remembrance of Me.

 

Bidding his Apostles and through them to us, to eat and drink, Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Hence this shows that this is to be a perpetual sacrifice. It is a sign that you are truly a disciple of Jesus Christ.

 

(B) Institution of the Priesthood

 

1.The Last Supper as we commemorate on Holy Thursday was the first Mass and the first consecration of the Eucharist. It was also the only Mass where Jesus was visibly present and consecrated the Eucharist.

Without the priesthood, there can be no Mass and no Eucharist. So, by establishing the Sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus was also establishing the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

 

2. The Command ``Do this in Remembrance of Me ” was given to a group of men who were to continue this sacrificial offering and hence represent Christ the Eternal Priest. The disciples handed this tradition from one generation to the other.

 

3. Paul confirmed in the second reading that He also received the tradition. Every priest today stands as an Alter Christus (another Christ) representing Christ the eternal priest.

In 1 Corinthians 11: 28-30, He warned the people that they must examine themselves well before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. for those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ, eat and drink judgement on themselves.

Therefore, to eat and drink from the cup, we have to know and acknowledge what we take at the altar and give Jesus the respect He deserves.

 

4. After the resurrection, Jesus continues His ordination by giving the apostles the faculties to work after He gave the command, `Do this in Remembrance of Me.

He said to them again: “Peace to you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21). When He had said this, he breathed on them. And he said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22). Those whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and those whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” ( John {20:23).

 

This power was given and handed down as it was given from Christ. That is why only the priest has the power to forgive sins. No one takes this honour upon Himself, He must be called by God (Hebrews 5:4).

In the Second reading, Paul says,” I received from the Lord”. With these few words, Paul establishes that he received his understanding of the Lord’s Supper from the Lord. He did not assume power just like many do today.

 

(C) Love as Jesus Loved.

 

1.William Gladstone, a member of the British parliament in the mid-1800s, announced the death of Princess Alice to the House of Commons. With the announcement, he told this story. The little daughter of Princess Alice was seriously ill with diphtheria.

The doctors told the princess not to kiss her little daughter. The reason is that this would endanger her own life by breathing in the child’s breath.

When the child was struggling to breathe, the mother, forgetting herself entirely, took the little one into her arms to keep her from choking to death. Rasping and struggling for her life, the child said, “Mumma, kiss me!” Only thinking about her dying child and without a thought for herself the mother tenderly kissed her daughter. She got diphtheria and soon after Princess Alice died.

 

Real love forgets self. Real love knows no danger. True love does not count the cost. The Bible says, “Many waters can’t quench love, neither can floods drown it” (Song of Solomon 8:7).

 

Take note that not to love is not an option for the followers of Jesus. Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you”. It is not a suggestion, nor a recommendation.

This is a commandment! This is not just a command to love like our mother or father but to love in the same way that Jesus loves us.

 

Jesus said, “Love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another.” Notice the little word “must”. Just like you must wash your hands before eating”, likewise there is no way around this command of Jesus, “Love one another.”

2. In the gospel of the Holy Thursday, when Peter said to Jesus, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” and after the event, Jesus says to them “ I have given you a model to follow so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

 

Foot washing is not a tidy endeavour. People who walk barefoot or in sandals arrive with dust and dirt caked to their feet, smelling like sweaty feet smell.

Foot washing was needed after a long journey but, in Peter’s mind and the “wisdom of the day,” it was not to be done by the Master. It was the work of slaves or servants.

Still, Jesus insisted (John 13:8), “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” The master sets the standard for everyone. Hence, as Christians, we cannot but love. There should be not be anything like hatred and wickedness.

 

 

 

Conclusion

In washing their feet, Jesus was doing more than an act of hospitality. He was teaching them the impact of His suffering and death, to sacrifice and love each other the way He does. this is the only thing that makes us Christians.

 

Can you imagine a master washing the feet of his or her maid, it can never happen, but what Jesus did is a pointer to all. We should never look down on any person we think is not to our standard. We should never use our positions or resources as a means of intimidation but a means of upliftment and help.

 

2. Secondly, In the institution of the Eucharist, we see an act of love where the son of man chose to be bread so that all can have access to him both the rich and the poor. Yet, many deny Him, many do not want Him, many of us deserted this spiritual food. We are more concerned about physical food than spiritual food. Jesus lowered himself and became food for all, yet he was deserted.

 

At the institution, Jesus becomes the eternal priest that offered himself for the good of all. What He did at the altar, He will also do at the cross. This is a sign of love, a sign of sacrifice. To fully belong to Jesus, we have to do the same to others.

 

3. We say we love Jesus and worship him, but there are hatred and jealousy everywhere. We prefer to live in wickedness, envy, enmity, community quarrels, family disunity than to love. Today is a call to forgive, love and serve as Jesus did.

It is a call to wash the dirt of others than to make money out of their suffering. This is also a time to break ourselves and come to the presence of God for repentance that He may wash away our dirt.

May God help us to love the way He loves us and makes Himself food for all. May we continue to experience His love wherever we go. Amen.

 

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8 Comments
  1. EJINI Chioma says

    Thank you Father! I pray that your teachings will be a light to my footsteps Thank you Lord for this opportunity.

    1. Sanctus Mario says

      Amen

  2. Echefu Daniel says

    thank you Jesus for your love
    we pray that we may love as you loved.

    1. Sanctus Mario says

      Amen

      1. Chidiogo Anasthesia says

        Amen. Thank you
        Happy feast day fr. May God give you the grace to always work in his vineyard. Amen

  3. Bernadette says

    Thanks Fr. I will cling to the cross in times of joy and sorrow as it is only tbrough it that I will have a happy and peaceful life.

  4. Chisom Egwudike says

    Amen

  5. Lilian Ndudi says

    May our good Lord help us to be a better version of ourselves, Amen.
    Thanks Fr. May God bless and keep you.
    Happy feast day!!!

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