April 9, 2020 – Holy Thursday, Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Click here for the readings (http://cms.usccb.org/bible/readings/040920-lord-s-supper.cfm)
Typically, around four in the afternoon, I usually go to the kitchen. I customarily look and eat for a little bowl of rice as well as any dish left from our lunch. Yet, in this time of quarantine due to COVID 19, we have limited stocks. And, we rarely have leftover from lunch. It is quite a struggle for me, as I would feel hungry. : )
Nowadays, it is common to see in the news people cueing long lines just to buy food. Others are waiting to receive food packs from the ration. If not, they would go to their barangay halls and would ask their officials for it. Hence, this limitation to have sufficient food makes us realize its importance. Food is life, right?
This situation also happens in our Eucharist. Our churches don’t have public masses due to COVID 19, a lot of people now realize its importance. A number of them crave for it, especially in this time of Holy Week. Recently, I become aware that some of my friends would set their notifications to know the schedules for our live streaming masses. (Kaya, wag na nating hintayin na tuluyang mawala pa para malaman mo na mahalaga pala. #hugot.)
Indeed, the Eucharist is food. It is our food for our soul. That is why, among the seven major sacraments, it is the only one that we celebrate daily. It is for the reason that it is the source of our Christian life. It energizes our mind and spirit. (So, Eucharist is lifer, diba?)
Tonight we celebrate the Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. At this moment, we commemorate the mystery of the institution of the Eucharist. We don’t only remember the tradition of the new Passover of Jesus, but we also make it a present reality. It is because, in the Eucharist, Jesus himself becomes the sacrificial Lamb. It is his own body and blood being offered for our salvation. Jesus also becomes the bread, as we have heard in the Second Reading, from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians. He clearly said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
True enough, the Eucharist is Jesus Christ himself. So, every time we take the Eucharist, we received the source of life and grace. Every time we take the Eucharist, we received the source of our growth in faith, hope, and charity. Every time we take the Eucharist, we share the divinity of Christ Jesus, who humbled himself to share in our humanity. So, you and I become one with Jesus. We are in communion with Him.
Yet, we don’t just stop there receiving Him. In today’s gospel, as Jesus instituted the Eucharist, He also instituted priesthood together His commandment of service and love. We have heard how Jesus humbled himself and washed the feet of the disciples. This act serves as a reminder for us to love and to serve one another, as he said: “I have given you a model to follow so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
My brothers and sisters, we are commissioned by Jesus to become priests and servants for His people in His kingdom. By our baptism, we shared the office of the priesthood of Christ. It means you and I are called to pray, to serve, and to pastor others. In this trying times, Jesus invites us to pray for those afflicted with COVID disease that they may have hope and experience healing. We are also called to generously serve for those who are exhausted in helping others, such as medical frontliners and government workers. Further, we are called to pastor for those who have lost their faith because of suffering and of death of their loved ones.
In this mass, we ask for the grace of becoming like Jesus, the Eucharist. We pray that we, like a little bowl of leftovers, may still become a nourishing sacrament that brings faith for those broken-hearted, brings hope for those who are sick, and brings charitable love for those living in darkness. Amen.
Shared by Rev. Joey Valross Trillo, CSsR