St Clare of Assisi

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Thursday - April 21st, 2011

'During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, 
aloud and in silent tears, 
to the one who had the power to save him out of death, 
and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard.
Although he was Son, 
he learnt to obey through suffering; 
but having been made perfect, 
he became for all who obey him 
the source of eternal salvation 
and was acclaimed by God
 with the title of his priest 
of the order of Melchizedek.'  
(Hebrews 4: 14-5:10)

Today we celebrate Christ's twofold giving of himself:

  1. To his enemies - to dies on the cross for the life of the world.  He is the paschal victim, whose blood saves his people.
  2. To his friends and disciples, his Church - that is, to us - in the sacrament of his body and blood.

If we want to belong to Christ, we must follow his example of self-giving and of service - 'washing one another's feet'.  We must be willing and ready to say with Christ, about our own selves:

'This is my body which is given up for you.'

The whole purpose of today's liturgy is to enable us to make this self-giving the real motivation for our lives.

'We see in Jesus 
one who is now crowned with glory and splendour 
because he submitted to death;
by God's grace he had to experience death for all mankind.
As it was his purpose to bring a great many of his sons into glory,
it was appropriate that God, 
for whom everything exists and through whom everything exists, should make perfect through suffering, 
the leader who would take them to their salvation.  
(Hebrews 2:9b-10)

Mass readings of today:

First Reading:  Exodus 12: 1-8, 11-14

Responsorial Psalm 115: 12-13, 15-18
R/ The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ. (1 Cor 10:16)

Second Reading: 1st Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians 11: 23-26

Gospel Acclamation John 13:34

GOSPEL: John 13:1-15

"... every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death." (1 Cor 11: 26)

He is the Passover of our salvation.
He was present in many so as to endure many things.
In Abel he was slain;
in Isaac bound;
in Jacob a stranger;
in Joseph sold,
in Moses exposed;
in David persecuted;
in the prophets dishonoured.
Not a bone of his was broken on the tree.
He was buried in the earth,
but he rose from the dead, 
and was lifted up to the heights of heaven.
He is the silent lamb, the slain lamb,
who was born of Mary the fair ewe.
He was seized from the flock and dragged away to slaughter.
Towards evening he was sacrificed,
and at night he was buried.
But he who had no bone broken upon the cross,
was not corrupted in the earth, for he rose from the dead
and raised up man from the depths of the grave.
(from the homily of Melito of Sardis)

'Through Him 
let us offer God an unending sacrifice of praise, 
a verbal sacrifice that is offered 
every time we acknowledge His name. 
(Hebrews 13: 12-13)

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