Holy Thursday 2019

May 3, 2019

HOLY THURSDAY 2019 - Fr. Randall P Patterson

Over the past year – you have heard the words – “intentional disciples” – many times in homilies – bulletin blurbs – study groups and general conversations. Our recently revised our parish mission statement reflects the fruits of our efforts in this regard:

                                               Our Lady of Victory Mission: Our Lady of the Snow

                                                is a community of joyful disciples knowing, loving

                                                              and serving God and each other.

Many have seized the monthly opportunities for adoration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Many have expressed their appreciation for these opportunities and how this devotion has enriched their lives by simply being in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

Today’s liturgy - brings these experiences of the past year – together - as today - we celebrate the institution of both the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders - Priesthood.

Fr. Raniero Cantelamessa, preacher to the Papal household – in the presence of Pope Francis – spoke these timely words –      

          The offering of Jesus Body and Blood is incomplete

                                                 unless we offer our bodies and blood at mass.

In other words – we are to become the Eucharist – the Body and Blood that we receive.

How can this happen? Remember the words of consecration – Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to the disciples. Jesus took bread – ordinary food – a staple of life. Isn’t that how Yahweh chose his people – a motley mob of slaves – not because they were great – but simply because Yahweh loved them. Doesn’t God do the same with us – he takes us – chooses us – to be part of his people – to be Christians. He chose us – we did not choose him – and not because we deserved it – but simply because he wanted to – such is the mystery of God’s love.

Jesus blessed the bread.  What power in those words. What had been common bread – is instantaneously transfigured into the incarnate Son of God. It is this blessing – God’s word - that transformed those Hebrew tribes into God’s people. It is the same blessing spoken over you in baptism - changed you into a child of God - brother/sister of Christ – an heir of heaven. That blessing hovers over your whole life – in reconciliation - it restores you to friendship with God – in Eucharist - it unites you to the Father through his Son.

He broke the bread – Jesus divided the bread so there would be enough for all. The body of Christ had to be broken - if it was to bring life to the world. “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat.” Remember how God had to discipline his own people - time and again – to bring them to a deeper awareness of him – of themselves - and of others. He had to break them – the same is true with us. To make us fit instruments  in His service – disciples – God has to break us - re-shape us - into the image of His Son – who learned obedience through what he suffered – in order to become the cause of our salvation (Heb 5: 8-9).

And he gave the bread – that had been blessed – that was now himself to his friends and through them to all of us – for the world’s redemption. On the cross – Jesus flung his arms open wide to embrace the world –     and at the same time his arms were empty – he had given us – everything – he had given us himself - in the sacrament of his flesh.

So – you too were taken – chosen - blessed and broken – for the life of the world.

At each Mass – all of you – priestly people – offer with an ordained priest – the body of Christ – and on the same paten – you offer yourselves. For you no longer belong to yourselves. The meaning of your Christian priesthood – your discipleship – lies in this: You are given – given to others – for their life. God changes into Christ not only bread and wine – he changes you into Christ – for the life of the world.

To be an intentional disciple – is to appreciate all that God has done and is doing for us - and to share joyfully with others all that God has made us to be. How is God nourishing us to be his presence – himself – today.