HOLY THURSDAY, April 1, 1999
Holy Thursday, April 9: MASS OF THE LORD'S SUPPER
Washing of Feet and Transfering the Holy Eucharist to a suitable Tabernacle and stripping of the altar
First Reading: Exodus 12: 1-8, 11-14
Psalms: Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-18
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26
Gospel Reading: John 13: 1-15
Why the HOLY EUCHARIST is the BLESSED Sacrament!
No feast better exemplifies Catholicism than Holy Thursday's Mass of the Lord's Supper for it was at the Last Supper Jesus Christ instituted the Blessed Sacrament when He turned the bread He offered His disciples into His Own Flesh and the wine into His Precious Blood. Though the physical properties of the bread remain the same, when He pronounced the words "Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is My Body which will be given up for you." it became His Body. Then, as the Canon of the Mass says, "When supper was ended, He took the cup. Again He gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to His disciples, and said: 'Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of My Blood, the Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of Me.'" At that very moment the wine, still wine in all aspects, became His Precious Blood.
Jesus used bread for He is the "Bread of Life" (cf. John 6:35) and wine for He is the "true Vine" (cf. John 15:1). The fruit of the vine becomes the fruits of Redemption, made possible by Christ's death, a death which totally made it possible for every one of God's children to be redeemed. The only difference between the Sacrifice of the Cross and the Sacrifice of the Mass is that on the former Jesus physically shed His Blood, while in the latter there is no physical shedding of blood nor physical death because Christ has already been immolated once. By His death He gained for us the merit and, through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, applies to us that merit and reward of His Bloody Death through the unbloody oblation of His Body and Blood during Mass. It is very similar to what one would see on video tape. What was taped happened at the moment it was being filmed. When it is being played over and over, no matter how many times, it is a re-enactment of the event. Though it cannot happen again, we are reliving it as though it were. So also the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for Jesus continues to offer Himself as a Sacrifice in order to unite us with Him, to give us a gift worthy to be offered to God (cf. Mal 1:11), "a clean oblation" and allow us the opportunity to share in the merits of His eternal sacrifice on the Cross. The fruits of attending Mass worthily and in the state of grace are that He not only answers our heartfelt prayers, but we gain even more of the merits of Christ for our souls as well as gaining temporal blessings.
When we consider these things, isn't it sad that so few attend Daily Mass? Isn't it even sadder that so many Catholics attend Sunday Mass without truly realizing what they are partaking in? We need to re-emphasize the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to instill in all the Catholic faithful the value of the Mass which is infinite because it is the renewal of Christ's death. Therefore to attend Mass devoutly is the greatest prayer we can offer. There is no more holy and divine act that can be performed here on earth than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We need to let all our brothers and sisters know that all who participate in the Mass, both here on earth and in Purgatory, reap the general fruits since the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered for everyone. This not only includes all who are present, or assist, especially the priest who represents Christ, but also the person for whom it is being offered as well as the souls in Purgatory - the Church Suffering.
Our Lady is constantly reminding us of the importance of Holy Mass, always drawing us closer to her Divine Son Who is ever present in the Tabernacle but never closer to us than during Mass and at Holy Communion for this sacrifice is accomplished at this special time when the species of bread and wine, now Our Lord's Body and Blood are consumed just as His Sacrifice was accomplished when He cried out, "It is Consummated!" and then expired on the Cross. It is so vital to remember that the Mass is not a remembrance or memorial of His death as our protestant brethren assume, but an actual renewal, in the separate consecration of the bread and wine, of the death of Jesus - the separation of His Body and Blood. Isn't it interesting that our protestant brethren waited sixteen centuries before denying the true presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. They denied it and introduced a different doctrine, one which goes against all that Christ intended. We can't help but wonder how, then, they can explain the powerful meaning of Christ's Own words in John 6: 54-59.
That is also the principle of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist for the word "sacrament" signifies a means unto holiness. "A Sacrament," the Catechism tells us, "is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace." Of all the Sacraments, the Holy Eucharist is the most outward sign instituted by Jesus and which we can receive daily. Shouldn't that prompt us to commit to receiving Him more frequently? After all, it is the greatest Sacrament. That's why the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Soul and Divinity, is called the "Blessed Sacrament!"