Christ Our Passover Has Been Sacrificed

The following post is my homily from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.  It will be the one post I put up during the Paschal Triduum.  It serves as a good introduction to the whole Triduum and in a way is a reflection on all three days.

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For I have given you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.

—Jn 13:15

These words of Our Lord at the Last Supper express the central truth of the sacred mysteries we celebrate during this holiest of times in the liturgical year. Our Lord gives us an example that we are to replicate in ourselves.

He gets down on His hands and knees and He does the dirty work of a slave by washing the feet of His disciples. He does this in the context of the first Mass in which He brings to fulfillment all that the Old Testament sacrifices represent, particularly the Passover sacrifice, which we hear about in the first reading. He is the Lamb that was slain. Yet He lives and He feeds us with His own flesh that death may have no more power over us.

Christ our Passover has been sacrificed (1 Cor. 5:7).   This is the Easter mystery, or the paschal mystery, meaning the Passover mystery. And it begins not on Easter Sunday, but today with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Continue reading

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Holy Saturday: Awake, Sleeper

It dates from day
Of his going in Galilee;
Warm-laid grave of a womb-life grey;
Manger, maiden’s knee;
The dense and the driven Passion, and frightful sweat;
Thence the discharge of it, there its swelling to be,
Though felt before, though in high flood yet—
What none would have known of it, only the heart, being hard at bay . . .

—Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Wreck of the Deutschland

The incorruptible flesh of Christ, which was taken from the substance of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s body, now lays silent and still in the dark tomb.  Gerard Manley Hopkins captures in poetry the ancient patristic dictum that the womb and the tomb relate to each other typologically:

Warm-laid grave of a womb-life grey;
Manger, maiden’s knee.

The Son of God entered a state of helplessness through His Incarnation in the womb of His Mother and was consecrated to the task of our redemption by clothing Himself in our humanity.  The enclosed space of Our Lady’s womb is the first sanctuary of salvation, which Jesus leaves miraculously by the stupendous miracle of the Virgin Birth. Continue reading