Holy Thursday

This evening the Church invites us to begin the three days liturgy known as the Sacred Triduum. It will begin with Holy Thursday and end with the Easter Vigil. It will take us through the last days of our Lord’s life and the beginning of the Church’s mission. Tonight we reflect on three things: the institution of the Holy Eucharist and of the priestly Order, and the commandment of the Lord concerning fraternal charity.
The Holy Eucharist is the Source and Summit of our Faith and thus it is fitting that we are invited to spend time this evening recalling the institution of this Sacrament, along with the invitation to spend time in Adoration with our Blessed Lord.
With the institution of the Holy Eucharist comes the priestly order, which makes possible the sacramental life of the Church. Tonight Christ reveals to the 12 that they are being called to something more than they could have ever imagined. Tonight Christ will not simply ask them to follow Him; no, Christ will ask them to share in His life with them through the priesthood. This invitation no one would have ever imagined. The Levitical priesthood was one you were born into and required constant sacrifices and offerings that could not satisfy our debt. Tonight Christ will offer the great sacrifice of His own body and blood and it will pay the debt incurred by Adam and Eve and by you and me.
The third invitation is a call to draw each and everyone of us closer to our Lord. I can remember in seminary being taught about fraternal charity. The rector told us that this would be one of the most difficult, but necessary things we would do as seminarians and priests. To correct a brother or sister who has gone astray must be done with utmost love and respect for their soul. It is not an opportunity to point out another’s faults, but instead to point out the path they are on. It is not about publicizing our sins, but quietly leading another to the mercy of God. Lord knows our world has gone astray, but what it needs is not a bunch of people standing on their soap boxes.
What the world needs more now than ever are Christians on their knees before the Blessed Sacrament asking the Lord for the grace necessary to live out our calling. To first be humbled in our own unworthiness and receive God’s mercy through the sacrament of reconciliation.
Tonight the Church rejoices as we are given a gift beyond belief; tonight we will hear those words anew; “Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my Body, which will be given up for you.” These words will be spoken by a man called forth from us to be ordained a priest of Jesus Christ. Thus, these words are not simply the repetition of words spoken 2,000 years ago. No, these will be the words of our Lord spoken with power and authority. Let us rejoice at the three-fold gift of the Eucharist, the priesthood, and fraternal charity.