Greetings, to all of you! We are doing well here. Our priests and staff are all healthy and discovering new ways to stay connected with our parishioners.
It has been encouraging to hear the appreciation of so many people for the things that we have been able to do to serve you even in the midst of this time of separation. In the next newsletter, some of our priests will share a few words with you as well.
In this issue, we have some reflections and prayers to help you observe Holy Thursday and Good Friday at home. As I mentioned previously, we will have the Mass of Holy Thursday on our website and YouTube. It will probably get uploaded on Thursday afternoon. Likewise, the Liturgical Service for Good Friday will be recorded and put online around noon on Friday. We will not record the Easter Vigil, but on Sunday you will be able to participate at a distance in the Mass of Easter Sunday.
We are praying for you and your families. If someone is sick or has a serious need, please let us know by calling the office. If the office is closed and it is very important, the answering service will contact one of the priests.
If you have other members of your family or your friends who would like to be on our email list, just let me know or write to Mary McLain at email@example.comWe will be pleased to add them.
We have also opened a YouTube channel where we have daily and Sunday Masses posted for the parish called St Patrick Church Carlsbad that you can subscribe to.
In the liturgy of Holy Thursday, we Catholics commemorate what Jesus did on his last night with his disciples before he died. Of course, we remember the great gift of the Eucharist. Our celebration of Holy Thursday just won’t be the same without joining as a community to offer the Mass, receive Holy Communion and walk in a Eucharistic procession. However, we can gather as a family or household and pray along as the Mass is made available on our parish website or YouTube channel.
In addition to giving us the Eucharist on Holy Thursday, Jesus also gave us the ministerial priesthood. Although all Christian share in the holy priesthood of Christ by Baptism, those who have been ordained to the ministerial priesthood have been called to a particular form of sharing in Christ’s priesthood. They exercise a role of leadership in the Christian community as they oversee the pastoral care of a portion of God’s flock. By presiding at the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, they nurture and feed God’s people. By preaching the Word of God, they continue the Lord’s mandate to make disciples of all nations. The pastors administer the temporal goods of the community and ensure good stewardship of the parish’s human, financial and material resources.
The gospel reading for the Mass of Holy Thursday directs our attention to another event that Jesus performed on the night before he died. He washed the feet of his disciples. This was a dramatic gesture because it was something a slave does for his master. Jesus did a role reversal. In addition, he told his shocked disciples that he was giving them an example. “As I have done, so you should do for one another.” In other words, greatness in the community of disciples (the Church) is not about power or authority. Each of us, ordained and lay, are commanded by Jesus to discover his new commandment and to find ways to make service to those in need an ordinary part of our lives as Christians.
I invite you to use a famous painting of Jesus washing the disciples feet as part of your Holy Thursday meditation. The following link will take you to it (turn up the sound)
Litany of the Sacred Passion
By William Storey
Lord Jesus, at the Last Supper you knew that Judas, one of the Twelve, would betray you.
~GOOD LORD, DELIVER US FROM FALSE FRIENDS AND TREACHERY.
Lord Jesus, during the supper, you humbly washed the feet of your disciples.
~GOOD LORD, MAKE US MEEK AND HUMBLE OF HEART.
Lord Jesus, at the Last Supper, you gave us the sacrament of your broken body and outpoured blood.
~GOOD LORD, WE WORSHIP THE SEAL OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT.
Lord Jesus, you asked your disciples to watch and pray with you in the Garden of Gethsemane.
~GOOD LORD, KEEP US AWAKE AND WATCHFUL WITH YOU.
Lord Jesus, at your betrayal and arrest all your friends fled in fear and deserted you.
~GOOD LORD, GIVE US COURAGE IN TIME OF TRIAL.
Lord Jesus, you were falsely accused and condemned for speaking the truth before Caiaphas, the high priest.
~GOOD LORD, MAY WE SPEAK TRUTH IN THE FACE OF INJUSTICE.
Lord Jesus, in the courtyard of the high priest, Simon Peter swore three times that he did not know you.
~GOOD LORD, MAKE US FAITHFUL IN TIME OF TEMPTATION.
Lord Jesus, Pilate traded you for a murderer and handed you over to crucifixion.
~GOOD LORD, HAVE MERCY ON US SINNERS.
Lord Jesus, you were beaten, mocked, and humiliated by Pilate’s soldiers.
~GOOD LORD, MAY WE SUFFER GLADLY FOR YOUR SAKE.
Lord Jesus, on the cross you were taunted and derided as King of the Jews.
~GOOD LORD, MAY WE ALWAYS LIVE IN OBEDIENCE TO YOU.
Lord Jesus, on the cross you forgave your enemies.
~GOOD LORD, GIVE US THE GRACE TO FORGIVE OURS.
Lord Jesus, from the cross you promised paradise to a repentant criminal.
~GOOD LORD, MAKE US LONG FOR PARADISE AND ETERNAL BLISS.
Lord Jesus, from the cross you confided your Blessed Mother to your beloved disciple.
~GOOD LORD, MAKE US CHILDREN OF MARY.
Lord Jesus, you cried out in agony to your Father and died with a loud cry.
~GOOD LORD, HAVE MERCY ON US, NOW AND AT THE HOUR OF OUR DEATH.
Lord Jesus, the Roman centurion recognized you as the Son of God.
~GOOD LORD, MAY WE ALWAYS PRAISE AND EXALT YOU AS OUR BLESSED SAVIOR.
Lord Jesus, you were taken down from the cross and laid in the arms of your sorrowful Mother.
~GOOD LORD, ENTRUST US TO THE CARE OF YOUR BLESSED MOTHER.
Lord Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea wrapped your body in a linen shroud and laid you in his rock-hewn tomb.
~GOOD LORD, GRANT US THE GIFT OF TEARS AT THE MEMORY OF YOUR SUFFERING, DEATH, AND BURIAL.
Lord Jesus, the women who had followed you from Galilee watched as you were put to rest in the tomb.
~GOOD LORD, WE AWAIT WITH JOY YOUR GLORIOUS RESURRECTION ON THE THIRD DAY.
(Pause for special intentions.)
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
~FOR BY YOUR HOLY CROSS YOU HAVE REDEEMED THE WORLD.
In today’s first reading from the book of Exodus, God gave instructions to Moses and Aaron on how to prepare His people for the Passover. They were to slaughter a one year old lamb and put some of its blood on their doorposts and the lintel of their homes, to identify them as God’s people when the angel of death passed through. The people were also told to eat their meal of roasted lamb and unleavened bread with their traveling clothes on, sandals on their feet, and a staff in their hand, as if they were eating in flight.
What does this remind you of in modern times? People often eat standing up in airports, with their traveling clothes, and they often have a cell phone or laptop in their hands too, that assists them with their journey. Travelers eat a quick meal, but are aware that they may have to leave at any moment if their flight is called.
Youth groups, tourists on sightseeing tours, and other large groups of people who travel together, will often wear something colorful to distinguish the fact that they belong together too. Soldiers in war identify their own, according to the outward appearance of the uniform they are wearing, and their lives are spared because of the outward signs of their affiliation with them.
Maybe we should pay a little more attention when we are in public, to notice the people around us a little more closely too. Have you ever been talking to someone who noticed a rosary in your car or a cross on your key chain, that suddenly changed the manner in which they related to you? You never know if the person you are talking to is actually a fellow Catholic. Certain signs and symbols of our faith bind us together in modern times, not the least of which is the Mass. Which is one of the reasons we miss it so much in these days of separation. Our communion is with the Lord Jesus Christ, but also with one another. There are no strangers at Mass, only friends whom we haven’t met yet.
In the gospel today, Jesus is about to embark on a journey too. He knew that he would be leaving his disciples soon, to go to his Father’s kingdom. Jesus also wanted to share a meal with those closest to him, before he left. Jesus ate the Passover meal with those he loved, but death did not pass him over that night. In fact, he became the lamb that was slain, so that others might live. That is why we call him “the Lamb of God.”
The scriptures for Holy Thursday Mass are filled with a lot of theology, but the heart of the matter is found in the gospel of John, when it says that Jesus “loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.” The evangelist wrote these words many years later, because the Beloved Disciple never forgot how much Jesus loved them, and his love for Jesus never dimmed throughout the years either.
Jesus’s disciples formed a warm cocoon of friendship around the supper table that night. It must have been a beautiful evening, something Jesus wanted them to continue to do long after he was gone. They were to not just share communion with one another (“do this in memory of me”), but also to get personally involved in each other’s lives, love each other, and take care of one another after he was gone.
His disciples sat and watched him do something quite unexpected after supper. Jesus began washing their feet. From the sound of it, no one else questioned what he was doing and why he was doing this, except for Peter, of course. Peter asked him “Master are you going to wash my feet?” When Jesus answered that he didn’t understand what he was doing right now, but that he would later (in typical Peter fashion) Saint Peter told Jesus “you will never wash my feet”. Oh really? The Lord answered Peter by saying, “unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” And of course that did the trick. Peter was all for it then! He said “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
There is something to be learned here from Peter’s behavior. To wash another person’s feet is a very intimate act. Many people are not comfortable with this degree of intimacy with another person, or do not feel “good enough” to have others show them this much love. Peter may have been out of his comfort zone to accept such a powerful expression of Christ’s love for him, and his initial response was to refuse Christ’s love.
How often have we done the same to someone who offered to do something helpful or kind for us? Can you think of a time when someone offered you something small, that you refused even though you might have enjoyed it? A small gift, an offer to buy you lunch, water your plants when you are on vacation, or feed your pets, pick up something for you at the store when you are sick, or let you come stay with them when you are traveling?
To refuse another person’s act of love, no matter how small, is to refuse Christ’s love. We are accustomed to seeing the face of Christ in others that we serve, but it is difficult sometimes to see Christ’s face in those who wish to serve us. Next time, maybe reconsider your decision, like Peter did, and allow Jesus to love you, through the hands, and feet, and hearts of his faithful servants. They too, have been commanded by Christ to serve you:
“If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
Good Friday Scripture Readings
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
John 18:1 – 19:42
The Scripture readings for the liturgical service of Lord’s Passion are as rich in meanings as they are long. (N.B. There is no Mass on Good Friday but rather an extended Liturgy of the Word which includes the Veneration of the Cross and a brief service of Holy Communion.) While each of the readings illuminates the meaning of this solemn day, the gospel reading for this celebration has a richness of its own. Each year the Church offers us two days on which we hear very different accounts of the Lord’s suffering and death. On Palm Sunday we listen to the account of Matthew, Mark or Luke (in the A, B and C years of the lectionary, respectively). While each of the synoptic gospels has a few unique features, their account of the passion of the Lord is very similar. However, every year on Good Friday we hear the very unique portrayal which is recorded in the fourth gospel. Recognizing that it would take a whole course to unpack it (maybe next Lent), I want to focus on one aspect: this is Jesus’ hour of glory.
Most commentators see the gospel of John as divided into two parts. Part one is the “book of signs” and part two is “the book of glory.” The entire gospel moves towards the hour of Jesus’ death as the hour of his glorification (17:4-5). The first half of the gospel (chapters 1-12) reveals Jesus’ glory through ‘signs’, while the second half reveals Jesus’ glory through his death on a cross (chapters 13-21). Nevertheless, the first half anticipates the hour of Jesus’ death as the climactic sign of his glory, thus combining a theology of glory with a theology of the cross. What John has done is not to dissolve the passion’s humiliation into glory, but (as one commentator says) to “redefine God’s glory by seeing the suffering and the humiliation of the cross as the high point of its revelation.”
John uses the language of Jesus’ being “lifted up” with a double meaning; being lifted up to his death is also the lifting up to his glorification — the means of his resurrection and ascension (12:32-33). This is evident in the arrival of the hour of Jesus’ death being accompanied by his declaration, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him” (13:31). Therefore, his humiliation in the eyes of the world is in reality his glorification in obedience to the Father. It crucially defies the world’s notion that ‘glory’ comes from humans rather than from God (5:44; 12:43), testifying that Christ’s kingdom “is not of this world” (18:36), redefining true glory according to God’s self-sacrificial love. Therefore, in view of the reality of Jesus’ humiliation and suffering, one scripture commentator affirms, “it is at the cross that the glory accrued to the Son is the greatest, because it is here that Jesus revealed the full extent of God’s love for the world (3:16).”
This theme of God’s glory manifest in the cross has an integral Trinitarian dimension in the gospel of John. Above all it ties Jesus’ glorification to the gift of the Spirit (7:39). Jesus told his disciples, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the paraclete will not come to you” (16:7-14). This term paraclete refers to the Spirit of Truth who is sent from the Father and Son (14:26; 16:7) as Jesus’ continuing presence with his disciples (14:15-17; 17:21-23), as a teacher and guide (14:26; 16:13), and as a witness or advocate (15:26; 16:7-13). The fourth gospel emphasizes that the sending of the Spirit is essential to believers being born from above and thus receiving the great promise of everlasting life (3:5-8; 4:14; 6:63; 14:18-20). Consequently, Jesus refers to his death saying: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified … unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (12:23-23). His death is essential to reproducing his glorified life in the world through his Spirit, which would enable his disciples to do “greater works” (14:12).
This gospel clearly states that through Jesus’ death believers enter into the life and glory of the Triune God. The Spirit is given to disciples with the explicit purpose to “glorify Jesus” (16:14) — just as the Father glorifies the Son (8:54) and the Son glorifies the Father. Thus believers enter into this reciprocal self-giving love of God (17:21-24), as sent ones; just as the Father sent the Son, the Son also sends his disciples (17:18; 20:21), giving them the glory that the Father had given the Son (17:22), so that the Father and Son will be glorified through them as they incarnate God’s character in the world (13:34-35; 15:8; 17:10). Therefore, the cross is at the heart of this gospel’s theme of glorification. Accordingly, Jesus’ death in John’s theology is significantly the hour of glorification as the place where the glory of the unseen God is made visible in the unity of the Father, Son and Spirit, enabling believers to receive of their fullness (1:16).
So we can declare with St. Paul: “May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whichthe world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal 6:14)
I realize that some of you are experiencing budget problems of your own at this time and I am not asking to cut yourself short. But please keep in mind the needs of our parish during these uncertain times.
Those of you who use weekly offertory envelopes, please enclose your giving into the special mailing envelope that comes in your packet
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