Today we begin the Triduum as we recall Jesus’ Last Supper
Reflections on the readings for Holy Thursday – Evening Mass of the Lord’s Passion (April 1, 2021): EX 12:1-8,11-14; PS 116:12-13,15-16,17-18; 1 COR 11:23-26; JN 13:1-15
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
“This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:25).
As we commemorate the Last Supper Jesus shared with His Apostles on this Holy Thursday, we remember that Passover meal and all it meant to them – and to the salvation of the world. Our Lord and the Apostles surely followed their Jewish tradition in recalling God’s promise to Moses in freeing His people from bondage. He would protect the Israelites from the death that would overtake the first-born of the Egyptians. “The blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you. This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generation shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the Lord, as a perpetual institution” (Exodus 12:13-14).
During the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper we recognize that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, instituted two sacraments at that Passover meal: the Eucharist and the ordination of priests. And, just as He wanted His disciples to share the generous love and humble service that He showed in washing their feet, He wanted them to understand that He was offering His body and blood, soul and divinity with those who follow Him. In St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, we learn how Jesus took the bread and then the cup of wine and transformed them into His own being. Just as the blood of lambs on the doorposts of the Jewish people saved them, the flesh and blood of Christ is meant to save us now: “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:25). On that night, the Apostles could not have grasped what Jesus was saying and doing. Only after His Crucifixion and Resurrection would they begin to comprehend the great gifts that He gave them – gifts that they would share with others. And gifts that we still share in today. We remember all that our Savior has done for us and continues to do for us. Because Jesus will not be satisfied until we are with Him for eternity.
Suggested missionary action: Let us thank God for the great gift of the Blessed Sacrament. Let us also make a commitment, as we are able, to attend Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist at least one extra day a week and to encourage others to do the same.
Give with heart this Holy Week. Put resources in the hands of missionaries in the Pope’s missions who are serving the poor and battling COVID-19.