At the end of the liturgy on Holy Thursday evening, in every Catholic Church around the world, the Blessed Sacrament is removed to the altar of repose, the altar is stripped, the church is bare, empty. Tomb-like. It is a striking and heartbreaking tradition, and I make sure to attend each year, to allow my heart to break, my tears to fall, my spirit to be clouded in gloom and dread, preparing for Good Friday, and Christ’s passion.
This year the priests will celebrate this Mass as they have most of the Masses throughout Lent, alone, without the faithful able to attend due to the Corona virus. Most churches are now closed to the faithful, although many congregations are able to worship online, have virtual Bible classes, and many other activities.
We may be unable to congregate and worship together, but we can still worship. Easter is coming, but first, we observe Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Whatever your denomination, spare a moment to think not only of Easter, and what preparations we might be making, limited as they may be this year. Join Christians of all denominations in these next days thinking of the Last Supper, of the washing of the apostles feet, the call to serve, then the betrayal, the trial, the Passion of our Lord.
I hope that Treepers will unite in storming heaven with prayers for an end to this virus, a prayer for safety, for our country, our loved ones, our President, all in a position of leadership, and for our world.
Verse Before the GospelJn 13:34
I give you a new commandment, says the Lord:
love one another as I have loved you.
Gospel Jn 13:1-15
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”