Well, it will be tonight anyways.
First things first, yesterday I talked about what I feel is an abuse. I want you to put that out of your head. Forget about it. Don’t let it mess with one of the most beautiful Masses of the year!
Tonight is Holy Thursday, and only the Eater Vigil can rival it in sheer mass of content. I am flat out amazed at how much happen in this one single, regular length Mass.
Let’s dive right in.
Holy Thursday has two main themes, first, the Last Supper, and second, Christ in the garden of Gethsemene.
The Lord’s Supper, the first Mass was a jam packed night. The night was already Holy. This was the Passover, the great feast of the Jewish people, that night which every man, woman, and child renewed the memory of their freedom from slavery. This was the night they relived the sacrifice of unblemished lambs that ransomed them from death. This night did not happen in a vacuum.
Christ knew the time had finally been fulfilled, and all that His life had worked towards was finally being set in motion. He himself had sent off Judas. He knew His time was running out, and he had to finish what He had come for. He must have felt rushed, and yet, time must have slowed to a standstill as he tried to take in every last moment with those who were his friends.
It could not just be a walk down memory lane though. Jesus had work to do, and he did not waste any time. He knew he could not leave us alone. So He gave us Himself that night. Before he was even hanging on the cross, His Blood was already in the Cup. He could feel His own body breaking as He broke the bread that had become Himself. What pain He must have felt, what anguish.
I have no doubt that the apostles had no idea what was going on. Here is Christ, already suffering, already broken, already giving Himself, and already those who loved Him did not recognize Him. It truly humbles me. I must admit, there are times when I do not receive Him with full attention. Times when I let my daily cares distract me from my Savior that has come to me in bread and wine. This night reminds me that I am not alone in this.
He could not leave us alone, so this night He gave the most humble gift anyone has ever given. He gave to His apostles power over Himself. This night, He created a new priesthood, wrapped in service. To show what service was truly like, he gave our predecessors two examples. First, He took the form of a slave (not a servant, a slave) and washed their feet. With this act He showed even greater humility by putting power over Himself in the hands of men who had the stain of original sin. They could now call Him down at will, changing bread and wine into His very Body and Blood.
These men, these lowly, foolish, arrogant, normal men now had the power to bring God Himself out of the high heavens. This humility is completely unthinkable. I am awed that in the time of His greatest duress, this is what Christ was capable of.
Tonight we will ring the bells with all our might in thanksgiving for this gift, but alas, all too soon they go quiet.
After Christ had given His greatest gift, fully spent, we relive His anguish. He gave everything He had, down to the last drop, and all we could do was yawn and fall asleep. Several times he asked us that we just stand with Him, just be with Him in His terror, and we were bored.
As you leave Mass tonight, you will leave in silence. You may be able to stay with Him a few hours in adoration, but sooner or later you will go home and go to bed. You have a big day tomorrow, after all. So do I.
As you fall asleep tonight, remember, we have not changed much in the last 2000 years. We still sleep, while He sweats blood.