Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7.30pm
HOLY THURSDAY is complex, profound and wonderful for on this day we celebrate both the institution by Christ himself of the Eucharist and of the institution of the Ordained Priesthood for in this, His last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover, He is the self-offered Passover Victim, and every ordained priest to this day presents this same sacrifice, by Christ’s authority and command, in exactly the same way. The Last Supper was also Christ’s farewell to His assembled disciples, some of whom would betray, desert or deny Him before the sun rose again.
The Holy Thursday liturgy, celebrated in the evening because Passover began at sundown, also shows both the worth God ascribes to the humility of service, and the need for cleansing with water (a symbol of baptism) in the Mandatum Novum, in Jesus’ washing the feet of His disciples, and in the desolation of Gethsemane in the Stripping of the Altar.
The action of the Church on this night also witnesses to the Church’s esteem for Christ’s Body present in the consecrated Host in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, carried in solemn procession to the Altar of Repose, where it will remain ‘entombed’ until the Good Friday Liturgy. No Mass will be celebrated again in the Church until the Easter Vigil proclaims the Resurrection.
And finally, there is the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by the people at the ‘Watch’, just as the disciples stayed with the Lord during His agony on the Mount of Olives before the betrayal by Judas.
There is such an abundance of symbolism in the solemn celebration of the events of Holy Thursday layer upon layer, in fact that we can no more than hint at it in these few words.
The best way to ‘get it’ is to experience the power of Maundy Thursday is by attending and being enveloped in worship at the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, with us at SS Julius and Aaron or wherever you are.