From the time I was a small child to this day, Holy Thursday services have continued to be the most moving liturgies of my life. In a few short hours at the great supper, Jesus is summarizing for us, represented by the Twelve, all that he had taught them in the previous three years.
Imagine what his human feelings are as he's saying good bye to his closest friends. Jesus knows that they haven't grasped his teachings well. And he realizes how weak they'll be in the coming hours. But what touches me deeply is that despite his awareness of their weakness - even telling them that they'd be ashamed of him, deny him, and abandon him, leaving him to die alone - he repeatedly tells them: "Remember me as loving you."
Every Mass is a mystical moment for hearing this wonderful message of Jesus' unconditional love of me. The tough part is accepting his love. The great Protestant theologian, Paul Tillich, defined faith as "The courage to accept acceptance." I pray often to be open to receiving such a great gift. The deepening awareness of how loved I am awakens within me gifts of joy, peace, confidence, and a greater desire to serve God.
Finally, may I offer a prayerful suggeston that helps me at Mass?
At the Last Supper and in every liturgy we hear the words that tell us Jesus took bread - blessed, broke and gave it to his disciples. In the same way we have been 'taken', that is, chosen to BE. From the billions of possible humans, God from all eternity affectionately chose me to BE.
Secondly, we have been blessed. Every parent loves to be thanked. As we reflect on the multiplicity of gifts we have been blessed with, our hearts will be flooded with gratitude.
The third movement is broken. We all have broken our covenant with God. And we have been broken by the hurts from others. These experiences, too, can be seen as gifts enabling us to understand and accept each other's brokenness.
Lastly, we have been given. Given to one another to reveal that our God lives and loves us so faithfully.
Understanding Jesus' message at the Last Supper will enable us to move through the 'Good Fridays' of our lives to the endless resurrections promised to us at that first Easter.
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