Reported by DaliusLL
Photos by SOCCOM
Sandakan : The Mass of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Thursday was celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral on 13th April 2017. The 7.30 pm, bi-lingual (English and Bahasa) Mass, attended by some 1,500 faithful was presided over by Rt. Rev. Julius Dusin Gitom, the Bishop of Sandakan while at the same time the Chinese Holy Thursday Mass was celebrated at St. Joseph’s Church with Fr. Sunny Chung as the celebrant.
The holy day falls on the Thursday before Easter, which marked the beginning of the Paschal Triduum, the three-day celebration of the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. Two important events remain the focus of this holy day; firstly, Jesus celebrated the last supper with His disciples and thereby instituted the Lord’s Supper also known as Communion, and secondly, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, thereby establishing the institution of the priesthood, and setting an example to all Christians that they shall love and serve one another with humility.
In his homily, Bishop Julius invited the faithful to reflect on the commandment of Jesus when He said, “Do this in memory of me.” Apart from referring to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), the prelate encouraged all to go beyond the theological answer of the meaning of the feast. He explained that, it opens up to the idea that God enters into our lives to save us and set us free from whatever oppresses us. The act of saving is done in and by Jesus alone.
Jesus is the highpoint of God’s saving work, the new Exodus passing from this world to the Father, through which Jesus brings a new relationship between man and God. Sharing in His new exodus, is our ultimate liberation from enslavement of sins. Setting us free is the very purpose of man originally created in the image of God. He further elaborated that the celebration of the Eucharist is a living memorial, through which we are joined to the Lord’s saving act of love and embraces the life of service to others, as commanded by Jesus.
After the homily, the prelate proceeded to conduct the solemn rite of the ‘Washing of the feet’ ceremony which is an integral part of Holy Thursday Mass. At the conclusion of the Mass, the faithful were invited to continue Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the night, just as the disciples were invited to stay up with the Lord during His agony in the garden before His betrayal.