Thursday, April 09, 2020



It is Holy Thursday!

In the Divine Office of Readings on this day, St. Melito of Sardis says: It is He who endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed Him. In Abel He was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonoured in the prophets.

It is He who was made man of the Virgin, He who was hung on the tree; it is He who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of heaven. He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb, the lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of His was broken; in the earth His body knew no decay. He is the One who rose from the dead, and who raised man from the depths of the tomb.

This is the day when Jesus, bending down to wash the feet of the Apostles shows us how to truly love and serve one another, to humble ourselves before others as Jesus does.

This is the day when Jesus assures us of His promise: …. behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” [Mt. 28.20], through two tremendous gifts: Himself, Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist and Himself in the gift and mystery of Priesthood, for every ordained priest, from the Apostles to the last man who shall be ordained on earth, is in persona Christi.

The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as "the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend."… In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained."… In his Eucharistic presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself up for us,… and he remains under signs that express and communicate this love…[1]

St. John Paul wrote a beautiful book on priesthood in which he stresses: The priesthood, in its deepest reality is the priesthood of Christ. It is Christ who offers Himself, His Body and Blood, in sacrifice to God the Father, and by this sacrifice makes righteous in the Father’s eyes all mankind and, indirectly, all creation. The priest, in his daily celebration of the Eucharist, goes to the very heart of this mystery. For this reason the celebration of the Eucharist must be the most important moment of the priest’s day, the center of his life. [2]

“Sweetest Jesus, Body and Blood most Holy, be the delight and pleasure of my soul, my strength and salvation in all temptations, my joy and peace in every trial, my light and guide in every word and deed, and my final protection in death. Amen.” ~ St. Thomas Aquinas

[1]      paras. 1374 & 1380

[2] ON THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF MY PRIESTLY ORDINATION GIFT AND MYSTERY; Pope John Paul II; p.75; Doubleday, 1996, © 1996 Libreria Editrice Vaticana {underling mine}

© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

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