Today is Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday. And tonight, I attended the Mass of the Lords Supper. The bulletin reads "On this most Holy Night, we enter the three days of the Paschal Triduum, celebrating the Paschal Mystery of the Lord's passion, death and resurrection... This evening, the primary symbols of our celebration are the washing of the feet and the sharing of the Eucharist".
Jesus gives us so much. He never lets us down. He loves us so much that he died for us on the cross. He asks very little of us... other than:
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart, with all your being,
with all your strength, and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
So after he had washed the feet of the disciples, knowing that one would betray him and that another would deny him three times, after he shared his Last Supper with his disciples, and introduced them to the Eucharist.
Take this, all of you, and eat of it:
for this is my body which will be given up for you.
Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
for this is the chalice of my blood,
the blood of the new and eternal covenant.
which will be poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins .
Do this in memory of me.
The music at tonight's Mass was breathtakingly beautiful. The last hymn of the Mass was "Stay Here and Keep Watch" After they finished their Passover dinner, Jesus and his disciples adjourned to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was anxious and distraught and needed to prepare himself for his impending death. He asked his disciples to
"Stay, here, and keep watch with me.
The hour has come.
Stay, here, and keep watch with me.
Watch and Pray."
Yet they slept. Most likely they didn't understand what was about to happen. Discovering that they had fallen asleep, Jesus called to them, trying to wake them but they could not stay awake. They let him down... in his greatest time of need. I have to wonder how many times, I've failed a family member or a friend in their time of need. I'm sure I have, as I'm sure most of us have. We get so caught up with our own needs and wants... our own problems, that there are times we neglect a friend. It doesn't mean that they didn't care, or they didn't love them. It just means that they were weak... just as we are weak. And yet Jesus loved them, despite their failing him, he loved them still. Alone, He turned to his Father and prayed alone. An Angel came to him and comforted him.
After the closing hymn, "Stay Here and Keep Watch", there is no formal dismissal. The altar is quietly stripped and people slowly leave. Yet there are others who remain, staying and keeping watch with Jesus. I stayed for awhile, and thought about the Agony I the Garden.
I have this holy card in my Missal. I am drawn to it. It makes me uncomfortable (in a good way). It reminds of of how much Jesus loves us, how much he suffered for us. And most importantly, it reminds me that even though we fail Jesus every day, just as the Disciples failed Him in the garden... that He loves us, He forgives us... and He is with us always. And when we suffer, He understands our pain and sorrow, because he suffered so for us. It makes me want to strive to be better... to not fail Him... to be their for my loved ones, because in doing so, I'm there for Him.