Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Making Preparations -- A Holy Thursday Reflection

This morning we reflect on Luke’s two-part prelude to the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22: 1-13). The first part recounts Judas’ tragic fall to the snares of Satan and the demon of greed. In stark contrast, the second part is Jesus’ instructions to the disciples to make preparations for the sacred Passover meal that would become the setting of Jesus’ sacrifice of his Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

Like Judas, we too may arrive at this Holy Thursday with our demons grasping at the weakest parts of ourselves. Can we really break away from the seemingly important demands of daily life to enter into the holiest days of our Christian year with a fitting focus and commitment?

Tonight we enter into the Easter Triduum – that unusual word that in Latin simply means “three days.” But these three days prayerfully draw us into the Paschal Mystery – the suffering, the dying and ultimately the rising – of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What could be more important?

The Church thrives and comes to life when we embrace these days with our whole hearts – when we bring to them our bodies, our minds and our souls: when we have our feet washed; when we touch and kiss the rough wood of the cross; when we gather at the blazing Vigil fire; when we sing and make music with boundless joy. These three days are not a series of unrelated liturgical events but are one awesome and riveting movement from Holy Thursday through Easter. It is a time for prayer and reflection. It is a time for listening and waiting. And it is the time for fully active, conscious participation.

As he did with Peter and John, Jesus invites us to “make preparations.” To prepare to allow him to enter more deeply into our hearts. To pray that others will be drawn to the mercy of God in these special days. To keep watch with our candidates to be received into union with the Catholic Church, and to pray especially for our young catechumens who will joyously enter the waters of Baptism and the life of the Church at the Great Vigil of Easter.

So let’s put aside all that we can of life-as-usual, and make holy preparations to celebrate Jesus alive among us in this community of faith and deep within our very best selves.

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