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Friday, April 6, 2012

HOLY THURSDAY ~ Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper


Sandakan : The last three days of Holy Week are referred as the Easter or Sacred Triduum, depicting the three-part drama of Christ redemption; Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Holy Thursday ~ the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper was celebrated at St Mary's Cathedral, Sandakan, filled to full capacity, yesterday 5th April 2012. The Mass in English was presided over by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom. Similar masses in Chinese and Bahasa Malaysia were held simultaneously at St Joseph's Church, St Mark's Church, St Paul's Church, Ulu Dusun and Our Lady of Fatima's Church, Beluran.
In his homily, Bishop Julius drew the attention of the congregation to the scene of Jesus' final moment before his arrest, trial and crucifixion with his dearest and closest friends, the apostles. At table over the last meal, Jesus calls the apostles who follow His teachings, 'friends and not servants' as he prepares them for His departure, the farewell discourse.
The prelate shared that Holy Thursday is an occasion that celebrates the Last Supper of Jesus and commemorates the institution of the Eucharist and priesthood. An integral part of the celebration is the 'Washing of Feet,' These final acts of Jesus are the two sides of the same coin which is inseparable. The Eucharist continues Christ's healing and life giving actions. The action of the 'washing of feet' is an act of hospitality and selfless service. We as Christ's disciples are called to be always 'servants to others', friends within the community, raise each other up, and help one another. As members of the Body, none should lead an individualistic life or live life in isolation. We are connected, joined and very much dependent on one another in our pursuit to fulfill the mission of the Church.
'I give you a new commandment: love one another just as I have loved you, says the Lord.'
After his homily, the prelate proceeded to the 'Washing of the Feet' on the 12 selected representatives of the various communities accompanied by the hymn 'A New Commandment.' The words spoken by Jesus after washing the apostles feet 'I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you' is a call to each and all to imitate Christ's humility in extending service to one another.

Before the transfer of the Holy Eucharist in procession, Bishop Julius invited the congregation to spend some quiet moment with the Lord, in response to Christ's invitation, 'Could you not, then, watch one hour with me?' During the procession, the hymn 'O Sacrament Most Holy' was sung.
And they responded, keeping Christ company till midnight.

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