Pastoral Ponderings For Holy Thursday

Today Holy Week takes a somber turn. From Bethany, Jesus sends Peter and John ahead to the Upper Room in Jerusalem to make the preparations for the Passover Feast. Later tonight after sunset, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples as they prepared to share in the Passover. By performing this humble act of service, Jesus demonstrates by example how believers should love one another. 

Then, Jesus will share the feast of Passover with his disciples, saying:

"I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won't eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God." (Luke 22:15-16, NLT)

As the Lamb of God, Jesus was about to fulfill the meaning of Passover by giving his body to be broken and his blood to be shed in sacrifice, freeing us from sin and death. During this Last Supper, Jesus established the Eucharist or Holy Communion instructing his followers to do this often in remembrance of Him. 

Later, Jesus and the disciples leave the Upper Room and go to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prays in agony to God the Father. Luke's Gospel says that "his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:44, ESV).

Late in the evening in Gethsemane, Jesus will be betrayed with a kiss by Judas Iscariot and arrested by the Sanhedrin. He will then be taken to the home of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where the whole council will gather to begin making their case against Jesus.

Meanwhile, in the early morning hours, as Jesus' trial gets underway, we will see Peter deny knowing his Master three times before the rooster crows

There is much for us to meditate on and reflect upon, as Disciples of the Lord. So much for us to take in.  Today we see first hand the most excellent humility and the beautiful love Christ has for all of us.  He is willing to do the most menial and demeaning task.. wash our feet.   In his Love for us, he has provided us with the Eucharist so that He can remain close to us always, living deep within our bodies and souls. He loves us so much, that he is willing to die for us and prays with such intensity for our well-being and salvation that he sweat blood. 

May we always, be mindful of this love and return this love to Him, by being Eucharistically minded, that is by regularly receiving this Holy Mystery, and by "living the Liturgy after the Liturgy" by loving our families, neighbors and all that we come in contact with - by being willing to die to ourselves and humbly serve them.

Mindful of today being the Feast of the Institution of the Eucharist, I urge the large number of parishioners and children who have not approached the Holy Mystery of Repentance (Confession) this Lenten Season to do so today.  I will be available at 5:30 pm and after this evening's 6:30 pm Service of the Reading of the Passion Gospels. 

Please make every effort to attend tonight's service,  and prepare your children to come to tomorrow Evening's 7:00 pm Vespers Service with the procession and entombment of our Lord.  It is vitally important that that they witness this service and venerate our Lord's Tomb.  A beautiful service of Royal Hours will also take place tomorrow morning at 11 am - where we will read the prophecies of our Lord's passion and Epistle and Gospel Readings.

Stay focused and mindful of our Lord.  Keep strong with your fasting and stay the course... Our Journey ends in a few short days... 

Assuring you of my love and prayers always,

Fr. Peter  

 P.S.  You can listen to today's reflection by Fr. Miloro ( on PC or droid phone) as read by Kevin Coffman by  going to this link:   http://holyghostphoenixville.org/lent

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