Holy Thursday

First of all thank you all for coming and forming our community of prayer this evening. Like you, I look forward to this particular liturgy every year. Tonight we begin the celebration of the Paschal Triumph of the Lord. This is the central belief of our faith. The root and origin of everything we have. At every Mass we proclaim the Mystery of Faith: Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again. Through His death on the Cross, the Life of God is restored to us. We now live seeking holiness; in doing this we are preparing the world to once more receive its Savior and His grace.

There are many very beautiful actions in this evening’s liturgy: the reception of the Holy Oils, the washing of children’s’ feet, and the procession with the Most Blessed Sacrament from the Church to the altar of reposition in the Parish center where we join the disciples and watch and pray with the Lord. All of these rites and all our actions this evening are far more than an annual reminder of the Last Supper. No, everything we do this evening and, for that matter, at every Mass, is a participation in the transformation of the world. Jesus Christ has staked His Claim on the world. The world belongs to Him. The Universal Church belongs to Him, THIS parish belongs to Him. He tells us to do this through acts of selfless charity, so may we have the courage and humility to fulfill the mandate with hearts full of unselfish love.

Tonight is especially important to remember together that Jesus gave the gift of the priesthood to his Church on the night before he died. He commanded the apostles, Do this in remembrance of me. When you stop to think about it, no command of the Lord has been obeyed more than that one. Throughout the world, in every time zone, in almost every language, there are hundreds, if not thousands of priests celebrating the Last Supper of the Lord.

As we gaze upon Christ at the Last Supper, as he becomes for us the bread that is broken, as he stoops down in humble service at the feet of the Apostles, how can we (priests) not experience, together with Peter, the same feeling of unworthiness in the face of the great gift we receive.”

You know, the priesthood is, simply, a real and wonderful super-abundance of mercy.

As I look back on my own years of priesthood – almost eleven– I realize that it was often when I felt the weakest that I in fact accomplished the most. Or rather, I should say, Christ accomplished his work in me.

Tonight I will wash the feet of twelve kids from our parish and will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper. I would like to share the one ambition I have – to serve you as your priest. The Holy Spirit has not called us, priests, to be mere bankers, real estate men, or blueprint experts. Such activities are at best incidental to our primary function of teaching Christ to the people- How much time does the priest spend in administration and maintenance, and how much time to Christ and proclaiming His message?[1]

I know I have many limitations: I’m not a great organizer or an eloquent speaker, my English is still very poor and very limited, I am not an expert in business, but I want to give you the best, what WE need the most – Christ crucified, truly present in the Eucharist.

I do pray for you every day and ask that you do the same for me, especially when you come before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

Help me to give thanks for the gift of the Priesthood, and at the same time let us pray that all those throughout the world who are offered the grace of a priestly vocation will respond to this gift, so that there will be no lack of laborers for the great harvest[2]

[1] Fulton John Sheen, born Peter John Sheen (May 8, 1895 – December 9, 1979) was an American archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church known for his preaching and especially his work on television and radio. His cause for canonization for sainthood was officially opened in 2002, and so he is now referred to as a Servant of God.
[2] cf. Mt 9 37

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris