Tawau : Holy Thursday marks the end of Lent and the beginning of Easter or Sacred Triduum, the three holiest days in the Catholic Church. The liturgy contains the most powerful symbol of our identity as a servant people which consists of; the celebration of the Eucharist and priesthood, the washing of feet, a reminder of Jesus’ command to serve one another and the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament to the altar of repose in a solemn procession.
Msgr Nicholas Ong, the rector of
presided over the Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper yesterday, 28th March 2013. The Mass commemorates the last Supper of Jesus with his twelve apostles, the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the priesthood and the commandment of brotherly love that Jesus gave after washing the feet of his disciples. Near to 1,000
parishioners participated in the 7.30 pm celebration. Holy Trinity Church
In his homily Msgr Ong said that the gospel today tells us that when Jesus and his disciples were at supper, he got up from the table, took off his outer garment, wrapped a towel round his waist, poured water into a basin and washed the disciples’ feet and dried them with the towel. And he told them that though he was their Lord and Master, yet he washed their feet. They were therefore to follow him and wash one another’s feet! That is, they were to love and serve one another! ~ "I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34)
He continued to say that, the dialogue of Jesus with Peter in today’s gospel tells us of the symbolic meaning of the gospel, that is, Jesus does not only wash our feet, but more importantly, Jesus also washes away our sins with the waters of Baptism, that is, he washes away our sins with the Holy Spirit! And Jesus continues to wash away our sins with the blood of the Eucharist, that is, the blood of the cross, every Sunday. In other words, Jesus does not only love and serve, but he also suffers and sacrifices for the sanctification and salvation of the world. And he told us to follow him and do the same. He added that in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we do the same four things that Jesus did in the institution of the Eucharist as per account of the first letter of
to the Corinthians: (i) We will take
the bread (Offertory). (ii) We will thank God for the bread (Eucharistic
Prayer). (iii) We will break the bread. (iv) We will give the bread (Holy
Communion) St Paul
Again, the Eucharist makes present, real and effective the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! It is with the help of the Holy Spirit that we do what Jesus commanded us to do, that is, to love and serve, to suffer and sacrifice, and to sanctify and save the world.
At the conclusion of the Mass, the Holy Eucharist is carried in procession through the Church and then transferred into the place of reposition to the hymn Pange Lingua. The faithful remained and continued Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until midnight, just as the disciples were invited to stay up with the Lord during His agony in the garden before His betrayal by Judas. Thereafter all decorations were removed and the altar stripped bare.