INSTRUCTION ON HOLY THURSDAY
The Church’s Year
By Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine
What festival does the Church celebrate today?
The Catholic Church commemorates today the institution, by our Saviour, of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. This commemoration she has celebrated from the first ages of Christianity.
What remarkable things did Christ perform on this day?
He ate with His apostles the Paschal lamb which was a type of Himself; it was eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread; they ate it standing with clothes girded, and staff in hand, in remembrance of the hurried escape of the Jews from Egypt. (Exod. XII.) After having eaten the Paschal lamb our Lord with profound humility washed the feet of His apostles, exhorting them to practise the same humility and charity; afterwards, He gave them His Flesh and Blood under the appearance of bread and wine, for spiritual food and drink, thus instituting the Must Holy Sacrament of the Altar, the Sacrifice of the Mass, and the priesthood; for when He said to the apostles: Do this in commemoration of me, he ordained them priests. After this He held His last discourse in which He particularly recommended brotherly love; said that beautiful, high-priestly prayer, in which He implored His Heavenly Father particularly for the unity of His Church. He then went as usual to Mount Olivet, where He commenced His passion with prayer and resignation to the will of His Father, suffering intense, deathlike agony, which was so great that He sweat blood. Here Judas betrayed Him into the hands of the Jews, by a treacherous kiss. They bound Him and led Him to the high-priests, Annas and Caiphas, where He was sentenced to death by the council, and denied by Peter. Continue reading