In a much overlooked letter (
Ecclesia de Eucharista
, 2003) Pope John Paul II noted that, “Beginning with the Upper Room and Holy Thursday, the celebration of the Eucharist has a long history, a history as long as that of the Church … in the course of this history … there has been no change in ‘mysteries’ instituted by the Redeemer of the World at the Last Supper … for the Holy Thursday supper was a sacred rite, a primary and constitutive liturgy, through which Christ, by pledging to give His life for us, Himself celebrated sacramentally the mystery of His passion and resurrection, the heart of every Mass … the sacred character of the Mass is a sacredness instituted by Christ. The words and actions of every priest, answered by the conscious active participation of the whole Eucharistic assembly, echo the words and actions of Holy Thursday.”
The very foundation of the Church is “closely bound up with the mystery of Holy Thursday,” as the twelve who constituted the first Church at the Last Supper, shared in the body and blood of the Lord.
This Paschal time, deprived of our actual reception of the Body and Blood of the Lord, I pray that you will remember that our faith in a God whose love is stronger than death enables us to face this current challenge of our faith life. Our world right now seems so very Lenten. May we allow Easter to equip us to face the time ahead.
A most Blessed and Holy Thursday.
Fr. John Nolan