Holy Thursday Thoughts

Have you ever done contemplative prayer? It is an Ignatian exercise where you place yourself in a scene and imagine the thoughts, feelings, and actions of those around you.  If you know what it is, have you done it with scenes from the Passion of Jesus Christ?

This evening marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum, and tonight we will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.  I’ve been wondering how Jesus felt as the day wore on, and the Last Supper took place.

When he shared that last meal with his disciples, did he enjoy it? Was he in a good mood and take pleasure in the time spent with friends and his mother? Or was he sad and anxious, unsettled over what he knew was coming?

Tonight will be a different experience as the Mass from our church, St. Jude, will be live-streamed.  The pews will be empty, and parishioners will not be together.   Honoring our Lord Jesus and commemorating the Last Supper, along with the washing of the feet, will be done from our homes and not in the broader community with the congregation.  For so many of us, this is strange and doesn’t feel right and makes us sad and anxious.

The Bible tells us Jesus was distressed and that he agonized in the garden at Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-42, Mark 14:32-36, Luke 22:39-44). Was he also troubled during the meal?  Knowing his betrayal was imminent, was he able to enjoy the evening with the disciples and Mary?

If you are feeling a wide range of emotions about the coming days, remember that Jesus felt many emotions, too.  Jesus knew he would face horrible things, but he also knew he would conquer it all. We have no idea what the future holds but, even in our despair, we know that God is in control, and it will get better. There is light on the horizon, and Easter will come.  Coronavirus won’t end on Sunday morning, but we – and things – will be better.  And, in the meantime, Jesus knows all too well the anxiety, frustration, betrayal, and sadness.  He’s been through it, also, and He understands.

Luke 22: 14-16
When the hour came, he took his place at table with the apostles 15 He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, 16 for, I tell you, I shall not eat it [again] until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”