THURSday 06 APRIL
Saint William of Eskilsoe
He was born in 1125 and was a French religious who willingly led a life with few comforts. He spent many hours in prayer and became a scholar of religious law. An account written after his death described him as “famous for his life and miracles.” He died in 1203.
Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Gal 6: 14
We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered.
O God, who have called us to participate in this most sacred Supper, in which your Only Begotten Son, when about to hand himself over to death, entrusted to the Church a sacrifice new for all eternity, the banquet of his love; grant, we pray, that we may draw from so great a mystery, the fullness of charity and of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: “This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, ‘On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt, I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.’”
Psalm 115:12-13, 15-18
R: The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ.
How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me? The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name.
O precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful. Your servant, Lord, your servant am I; you have loosened my bonds.
A thanksgiving sacrifice I make; I will call on the Lord’s name. My vows to the Lord I will fulfil before all his people.
Second reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.” In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.” Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.
Gospel Acclamation: Jn13: 34
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus! I give you a new commandment: love one another just as I have loved you, says the Lord. Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Gospel: John 13:1-15
It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was. They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples” feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “Never!” said Peter “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.” “Then, Lord,” said Simon Peter “not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus said, “No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.” He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, “Though not all of you are.” When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. “Do you understand” he said “what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.”
Prayer over the Offerings
Grant us, O Lord, we pray, that we may participate worthily in these mysteries, for whenever the memorial of this sacrifice is celebrated, the work of our redemption is accomplished. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Cor 11: 24-25
This is the Body that will be given up for you; this is the Chalice of the new covenant in my Blood, says the Lord; do this, whenever you receive it, in memory of me.
Prayer after Communion
Grant, almighty God, that, just as we are renewed by the Supper of your Son in this present age, so we may enjoy his banquet for all eternity. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
On Holy Thursday the Church gives us the opportunity to re-live the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the sacrament of Holy Orders, intimately linked to the Eucharist, and the sacrament of fraternal charity through the gesture of the washing of the feet. It is the feast of the priesthood with Jesus the Highest of Priests who wanted to associate weak and fragile men, the priests, with his holy ministry; the feast of the Eucharist where he offers himself as the greatest sacrifice to the Father and gives himself to us as true food and drink; the feast of brotherhood where the greatest serves the smallest, it is in reality the feast of love which is not afraid to lower itself and to give itself to the end that we celebrate today. But to enter into this mystery of Holy Thursday, we must pass through the door of service, that of the washing of the feet, of which Jesus himself is the example in his Gospel. Jesus, though Lord and Master, takes the apron of the servant and the place of the slave to serve. He reverses the established order and leads us to true understanding of his mission and his self-offering. His gesture teaches the way of humility and self-abasement, of service and fraternal attention, as well as of true greatness.11