Offers food for thought
Reflections on 'Trinity of Love': Eucharist, Priesthood, Service (Holy Thursday - Mass of the Lord's Supper)
Conclusion to the Lenten Series 2017
In the plan of God, the Jewish Paschal Meal becomes the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. The promise that through the chosen people, all would be blessed, is realized in this new Passover, which offers a liberation for all people, from sin. There is a new Lamb, the Lamb of God; a new unleavened bread, the Bread that is the Body of the Risen Lord. The blood of the lamb is now replaced with the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus, the new sacrifice once for all, who takes away the sin of the world.
Yesterday, the priests of the diocese gathered with the Bishop at the Cathedral for the Chrism Mass – Blessing of the Oils, and we made our solemn renewal of priestly promises to the Bishop, witnessed by the faithful. This annual renewal highlights the image of the Church as a priestly people made holy by the sacraments and sent forth in mission to share the Good News.
Tonight, we enter the upper room, together with Jesus and his apostles. It was in this upper room of the Last Supper that the Eucharist was instituted and from it the Priesthood was born, and they are indissolubly linked until the end of the world. Tonight, the universal church gives thanks to God for these great gifts, the permanent presence of Christ with us, in the Blessed Sacrament and in the ministerial priesthood. “There can be no Eucharist without the priesthood, just as there can be no priesthood without the Eucharist” (Gift and Mystery. On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination, New York, 1996, pp.77-78)
Both the Eucharist and the priesthood are mysteries of faith. The same mystery of sanctification and love, the work of the Holy Spirit, which makes the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, is at work at the moment of priestly ordination. The Church teaches that “the ministerial priest... effects the Eucharistic Sacrifice in the person of Christ and offers it to God in the name of all the people” (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 10). As one of these priests, I am increasingly amazed and often overwhelmed by this extraordinary reality.
Instituting the Eucharist and the Ministerial Priesthood are not all Jesus did at the Last Supper. In fact, we might say he gave us an image of an ‘active Love Trinity’. Loving us to the end, he gave us the Eucharist. For love of us, he gave us Priests to open the gates of heaven through Sacraments, from which grace flows. For love of us, he showed us how to love Him by lovely serving others. There are many ways to serve in love, but first among them are the vocations of Marriage and Religious Life. Today we focus our attention on sacrificial love experienced and given through priestly vocations.
We can never cease to pray that priests will never be lacking in the Church, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” To pray means to keep our gaze fixed on Christ, confident that there will be an abundant growth, by the work of the Holy Spirit, of the seeds of those vocations needed in every age for the Church's life and mission.
Part One of the Lenten Series
Part Two of the Lenten Series
Part Three of the Lenten Series
Part Four of the Lenten Series
Part Five of the Lenten Series
Part Six of the Lenten Series
Audio version of this homily, as preached at Mass
Peace doesn't just happen; it's made.
CampusPadre is a college ministry Priest Chaplain with 30 years experience in youth and young adult ministry, who strives to let the Holy Spirit lead and challenges students to seek holiness above all.