March 24, 2016

Holy Thurs

March 24, 2016:  Holy Thursday

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Our blessing cup settings (psalm)

Psalm 89 settings
After hearing Jesus read from the Prophet Isaiah, the congregation could have burst into applause or wept for joy, but they did the opposite; they closed their hearts and sent him off.  We're called to take a stand where the Lord proclaims the Father’s mercy to the poor and oppressed.  His battle is against the devil, the enemy of humanity.  He passes through all who would stop him.  He doesn't fight to build power.  If he breaks down walls and challenges our sense of security, he does to open the flood gates of that mercy he wants to pour out, a mercy that expands, proclaims and brings newness, heals, liberates, and proclaims the Lord’s favor.  God's mercy is infinite and indescribable.  We express it as an “ever greater” mercy, in motion, making daily progress, advancing by small steps in the wasteland of indifference and violence.
The Good Samaritan “showed mercy”:  he was moved, drew near, bandaged the man's wounds, took him to the inn, stayed, and promised to return and cover further costs.  Mercy gathers small gestures and grows with each act of love.  Each of us can try to remember the ways the Lord has been merciful, more merciful than we imagined.  In this we find courage to ask him to reveal yet more of his mercy.  This way of praying to a merciful God helps us tear down the walls we try to use to contain his heart.  It's good to break out of our set ways, because God's heart overflows with tenderness, ever more to give.  For the Lord prefers something to be wasted rather than any mercy to be held back.  Each seed of his love can bear abundant fruit.  We're witnesses and ministers of the Father’s mercy; our task is to incarnate mercy, to inculturate mercy, so each person can embrace and experience it.  I'd like to speak of two areas where the Lord shows excess mercy:  encounter and forgiveness.  We shouldn't hesitate to show excess.
Encounter:  God gives himself completely.  Every encounter leads to rejoicing.  In the parable of the Merciful Father, the man who runs to his son and throws his arms around him; we see how he embraces his son, gives him his sandals, showing he's a son, not a servant, then hosts a party.  In contemplating this abundance of the Father’s joy, we shouldn't be afraid to exaggerate our gratitude.  Mercy restores everything; it restores dignity to each person.  This is why gratitude is the proper response: we have to go the party, to put on our best clothes, to cast off the rancor of the elder brother, to rejoice and give thanks… Only in this way, participating fully in such rejoicing, is it possible to think straight, to ask for forgiveness, and see more clearly how to make up for the evil we have committed. It would be good for us to ask ourselves: after going to confession, do I rejoice? Or do I move on immediately to the next thing, as we would after going to the doctor, when we hear that the test results are not so bad and put them back in their envelope? And when I give alms, do I give time to the person who receives them to express their gratitude, do I celebrate the smile and the blessings that the poor offer, or do I continue on in haste with my own affairs after tossing in a coin?
Forgiveness:  God doesn't only forgive; he also enables us to move directly from disgrace to dignity.  The Lord allows the forgiven woman to wash his feet with her tears.  As soon as Simon confesses his sin and begs Jesus to send him away, the Lord raises him to be a fisher of men.  But we separate these attitudes:  when we're ashamed of our sin, we hide ourselves; when we're raised up to dignity, we try to cover up our sins and take pleasure in being seen.  Our response to God’s forgiveness should be to preserve the tension between dignified shame and shamed dignity.  It's the attitude of one who seeks a humble place but can also allow the Lord to raise him up.  Peter allowed himself to be questioned about his love for the Lord but also renewed his acceptance of the ministry to shepherd the flock.
To grow in this “dignity capable of humbling itself” and delivering us from thinking we're more or are less than what we are, can help us understand Isaiah's words, "You'll be called priests of the Lord."  It's the poor, hungry, prisoners of war, people without a future, rejected, that the Lord transforms into a priestly people.  We identify with the excluded, people the Lord saves.  We remind ourselves that there are countless masses of people who are poor, uneducated, prisoners, who find themselves in such situations because others oppress them.  But we know the extent of our blindness.  We thirst for spirituality.  We feel trapped by a digital, virtual worldliness opened and closed by a simple click, oppressed by the allure of advertisements....
Jesus comes to redeem us, to send us, to transform us from being poor, blind, imprisoned, and oppressed, to become ministers of mercy and consolation.  He says to us, “I will remember my covenant with youth….  Then you'll remember your ways, and be ashamed....  You shall know I am the Lord, that you may remember and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I forgive you.”  We celebrate our Father and pray that “he remember his mercy”; let us receive the mercy revealed in Jesus' wounded flesh and ask him to cleanse us of sin and free us from evil.  Let us commit ourselves to bringing God’s mercy to everyone and performing the works the Spirit inspires in us....
Read
    Animate
  • Is 61:1-3a, 6a, 8b-9  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.  God has anointed and sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to captives and release to prisoners, announce favor and vindication, comfort mourners.  I'll make a covenant with them.  You'll be named priests/ministers, blessed, and rewarded.
  • Ps 89:21-22, 25, 27  "For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord."  I have anointed David, my servant and will exalt him.  My faithfulness and mercy shall be with him.
  • Rv 1:5-8  Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, firstborn of the dead, and ruler of all.  He loves us, freed us from sin, made us into a kingdom of priests....
  • Lk 4:16-21  Jesus went into the synagogue, read the scroll "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me...", and said “Today this passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Mass of the Lord's Supper
    "As I have done for you"
    (Animate)
  • Ex 12:1-8, 11-14  Lord to Moses and Aaron:  “Tell the community:  On the 10th of this month, procure a year-old lamb, keep it till the 14th, slaughter it at twilight, apply its blood to your doorposts, roast and eat it, with unleavened bread, like those in flight.  It is the Passover of the Lord, when I will go through Egypt, striking down every firstborn and judging Egypt's gods.  When I see the blood, I will pass over you.
  • Ps 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18  "Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ."  In return for the good God has done, I'll take up the cup of salvation and call upon him.  Precious in the Lord's eyes is the death of his faithful.  I am your servant; you have freed me.
  • 1 Cor 11:23-26  Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, gave thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.”  Then he took the cup:  “This is the new covenant in my blood.  Do this in remembrance of me.”  Whenever you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
  • Jn 13:1-15  Jesus loved his own to the end.  He rose from supper, poured water, and washed and dried the disciples’ feet.  Peter / Jesus:  “Are you going to wash mine?” / “You don't  understand now but will later.” / “Never!” / “Unless I do, you'll have no inheritance with me.” / “Then my feet, hands and head too.”...  He said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?  If I, master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s.  As I have done for you, you should do.”
    Reflect
        • In memoriam Fr. Ed McFadden, SJ, 1924-2002.  I remember him today because he always told his high school freshmen English class his favorite scripture, Jn 13:13, from today's gospel:  "You call me Lord and Master, and rightly so, for so I am." :-) (his translation)
        • Creighton:  In the Exodus reading, the Lord tells Moses and Aaron how to celebrate the Passover.  In John’s gospel Jesus washes his disciples' feet; imagine them squirm as he assumes that most humbling role, then says, “As I have done for you, so you must do.”  I recall the connection between the foot washing and the Eucharist.  The way he gives his body and blood in the Eucharist is the way he wants me to give myself for others.  When I hold his broken and poured out body in my hands me, I think of my family, and others whose cries I don't let myself hear often, and how I can love them more.  Lord, show me how to wash others' feet.  Help me to recognize those on the margins as ones who deserve my love and care....
          As Jesus Commanded
          Fr. Bob Gilroy, SJ
        • One Bread, One Body:  "How beautiful are the feet...":  Today we begin the Triduum, 70 hours of prayer followed by Easter, 50 days of celebrating the risen Christ.  Even if our feet aren't washed tonight, we deciding by going to Mass to have our feet washed, to accept our heritage from Jesus, to accept the Jesus in the Eucharist, eternal life, the cross, the Bible, the Church, peace, justice, and love....  May I center my life on the Lord....
        • Passionist:  "Do this in remembrance of Me":  Memory is a beautiful gift of God.  Jesus’s doesn't want us to forget him who never forgets us!   When he instituted the Eucharist, and an apostles is betraying him, he asks us to remember him.  We're grateful when people remember us; they're putting us into their heart.  The Eucharist is a living remembrance of Christ at the ultimate act of love; it's “the summit and source of all Christian worship and life.  Consequently the Church always gazes on her Lord, present in the Sacrament, in which his boundless love is fully manifested.”  Today we remember Jesus remembering us.  We place in our hearts the love he shows us on the cross.  “Jesus, remember me when you enter into your kingdom!”
        • DailyScripture.net:  "Jesus' supreme humility":  As Jesus' hour of humiliation draws near, he reveals the humility that shaped his love, stooping to wash the smelly feet of those he knew would betray and abandon him.  He loved his disciples even when they failed and forsook him, as he loves each of us.  His love can set us free to serve others with compassion and humility like his.  "He had the power to lay down his life; we by contrast can't choose the length of our lives, and we die even if it's against our will.  He, by dying, destroyed death; we're freed from death only in his death.  His body didn't see corruption; ours will and only through him be clothed in incorruption.  He didn't need our help to save us; without him we can do nothing.  He gave himself to us as vine to branches; apart from him we have no life.  Finally, even if we die for others, no martyr brings forgiveness of sin, as Christ brought us forgiveness.  In this he gave us not an example to imitate but a reason to rejoice.  Inasmuch as they shed their blood for others, martyrs provide "the same kind of meal" as they received at the Lord's table.  Let us then love one another as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us" (Augustine)
        • Universalis:  St. Macartan, bishop, companion of St. Patrick
        Dress legend (c:  Chrism reading; s:  Lord's Supper reading)
        • 'Crown' tie bar:  He sent me to place a diadem on those who mourn (1st reading c)
        • 'Ruler' tie bar:  Jesus Christ, 'ruler' of the kings of the earth (2nd reading c)
        • 'Scroll' pin:  Jesus read from the scroll (gospel c); I'll make a lasting covenant (1st reading c)
        • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me" (gospel c)
        • 'Jubilee year' pin:  He sent me to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord (1st reading c, gospel c)
        • 'Hand' tie pin:  "My hand will always be with David" (psalm c); I received from the Lord what I handed on to you (2nd reading s); devil induced Judas to hand Jesus over; “not only my feet, but my hands and head too” (gospel s)
        • 'Rock' tie pin:  God, the Rock (psalm c)
        • 'Blood drop' pin:  Grace and peace from Jesus Christ, who has freed us by his Blood; this cup is the new covenant in my blood (2nd reading c); seeing the blood you applied, I'll pass over and spare you (1st reading s); our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ (psalm s)
        • 'Pierced hearts' suspenders:  God sent me to heal the brokenhearted (1st reading c); He loved his own to the end (gospel s)
        • 'Lamb,' 'sheep' tie bar:  Passover lamb, from the sheep or the goats (1st reading s)
        • Sandals (not shown):  Washing of feet (gospel s); eat passover lamb with sandals on your feet... (1st reading s)
        • 'Airplane' tie pin: ...like those who are in 'flight' (1st reading s)
        • 'Phone' tie bar:  I'll call on the Lord's name (psalm s)
        • 'Eyeball' pin:  "Precious in the Lord's eyes..." (psalm s); "every eye will see him" (2nd reading c); "The Lord has anointed me to proclaim recovery of sight to the blind (1st reading c, gospel c); "the eyes of all... looked intently at him" (gospel c)
        • 'Wheat' pin:  Jesus took bread... (2nd reading s)
        • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Last Supper (gospel s)
        • 'Feet' pin:  Jesus washed disciples' feet (gospel s)
        • White shirt:  liturgical color of day