If I knew nothing…if I had been taught nothing…still, the Great Being would know me. And would walk with me all my days, waiting for my heart to awaken. And whether or not I was aware of it, that same God who loved into being the petal of the smallest flower, the glacier, the deer, the rock, the galaxies of stars, would know the deepest part of me.
Going to confession one day was the turning point of Catherine's life.
When Catherine was born, many Italian nobles were supporting Renaissance artists and writers. The needs of the poor and the sick were often overshadowed by a hunger for luxury and self-indulgence.
Catherine's parents were members of the nobility in Genoa. At 13 she attempted to become a nun but failed because of her age. At 16 she married Julian, a nobleman who turned out to be selfish and unfaithful. For a while she tried to numb her disappointment by a life of selfish pleasure.
One day in confession she had a new sense of her own sins and how much God loved her. She reformed her life and gave good example to Julian, who soon turned from his self-centered life of distraction.
Julian's spending, however, had ruined them financially. He and Catherine decided to live in the Pammatone, a large hospital in Genoa, and to dedicate themselves to works of charity there. After Julian's death in 1497, Catherine took over management of the hospital.
She wrote about purgatory which, she said, begins on earth for souls open to God. Life with God in heaven is a continuation and perfection of the life with God begun on earth.
Exhausted by her life of self-sacrifice, she died September 15, 1510, and was canonized in 1737.
Regular confessions and frequent Communion can help us see the direction (or drift) of our life with God. People who have a realistic sense of their own sinfulness and of the greatness of God are often the ones who are most ready to meet the needs of their neighbors. Catherine began her hospital work with enthusiasm and was faithful to it through difficult times because she was inspired by the love of God, a love which was renewed in her by the Scriptures and the sacraments.
Shortly before Catherine's death she told her goddaughter: "Tomasina! Jesus in your heart! Eternity in your mind! The will of God in all your actions! But above all, love, God's love, entire love!" (Marion A. Habig, O.F.M., The Franciscan Book of Saints, p. 212).
I remind myself that I am in your presence O Lord. I will take refuge in your loving heart. You are my strength in times of weakness. You are my comforter in times of sorrow.
"Leave me here freely all alone In cell where never sunlight shone should no one ever speak to me This golden silence makes me free." Part of a poem written by a prisoner at Dachau concentration camp
In the presence of my loving Creator, I look honestly at my feelings over the last day, the highs, the lows and the level ground. Can I see where the Lord has been present?
The Word of God
▪ Holy Thursday Reading 1 Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, "This month shall stand at the head of your calendar; you shall reckon it the first month of the year. Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household. If a family is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join the nearest household in procuring one and shall share in the lamb in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it. The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish. You may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight. They shall take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house in which they partake of the lamb. That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
"This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight. It is the Passover of the LORD. For on this same night I will go through Egypt, striking down every firstborn of the land, both man and beast, and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD! But the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you.
"This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18
R. (cf. 1 Cor 10:16) Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones. I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
Reading 2 1 Cor 11:23-26
Brothers and sisters: I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
Verse Before the Gospel Jn 13:34
I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you.
Gospel Jn 13:1-15
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Master, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well." Jesus said to him, "Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all." For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, "Not all of you are clean."
So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ John introduces this story with great solemnity. He takes care to specify precisely the point in Jesus' life when he decides to wash his disciples' feet.. Afterwards, Jesus explains the meaning of what he had done. He holds it up as an example for the apostles to follow. They are to express love within their community with humility and in practical ways. Note that this service is to be mutual: "to wash one another's feet". What are you called to do in your life circumstances?
▪ There is no description of the institution of the Eucharist in John's gospel. Commentators see the washing of the feet as taking its place. Do you grasp the common values that underlie both events?
What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Do you realize what I have done for you? (John 13:12)
Holy Thursday: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper
It's amazing the number of significant events that occurred on Holy Thursday. In fact, this is probably one of the most eventful and significant days in Jesus' entire life!
Here's a list of just some of the important things that Jesus did on this day:
• He washed the apostles' feet and told them to wash each other's feet.
• He instituted the Eucharist.
• He instituted the priesthood.
• He identified his betrayer.
• He identified Peter's special role as the one who would "strengthen" his brothers (Luke 22:32).
• He endured the agony in the garden.
• He was arrested.
• He was subjected to a mock trial and abuse from the Sanhedrin.
• He spent the night in prison, awaiting his execution the next day.
In addition, Jesus also gave us new teachings:
• He gave us the new commandment to love one another.
• He called us his friends.
• He promised to send the Holy Spirit to help us live out his commands.
• He prayed that we all might be one.
Everything Jesus did that day was tied to his plan for the Church. He wanted all his people for all time to be grounded in the Eucharist, in a priesthood of service, in unity, and in love. And he promised to send the Holy Spirit to help us do all that he asked of us.
Surely this was a bittersweet day for Jesus. But as painful as it was, Holy Thursday was also a day filled with love. Jesus did all of this because he loved us—"to the end" (John 13:1). So let's remember what has happened. Let's spend the day pondering everything Jesus has said and has done. Let's treasure it. And let's celebrate it.
"Thank you, Jesus, for loving me to the very end. Thank you for calling me your friend and inviting me to help you build your Church."
my2cents: The Lord said in the first Scripture at one part that we "shall share in the lamb" and then ends with ""This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution." Pilgrims on their journey must come to share. We are pilgrims on our journey of faith, every last one. And so the feast today offered had been declared hundreds of years before Christ. An excerpt of today's 5 minutos said "The question is not: 'How can I find God?' but, 'How can I let God find me?' The question is not 'how can I know God?' but 'how can I let God know me?', and finally, the question is not 'how can I love God?' but 'how can I let God love me?" It is an unending question. The questions have answers, and they are in our Lord the Christ, Jesus. If there is one knocking at your door constantly, it is Him. But what's so loud inside that you can't hear Him trying to come in? If someone knocks for a hundred years, it would not break through the hard door, it has to be opened. And this is the sign and reality of the perpetual institution, the people of God, and now, the Body of Christ. We pray "Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ." What do we do with the blessings? That is the key factor that will allow us to grow more intimate with Him, and it shows at the Last Supper. We prayed on today "How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me?" How could you ever repay to God what He has done for us? An ungrateful person has nothing to thank for, nor have they any sins to be sorry for. We prayed on "The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD." Not only will I take the cup, the sharing in the blood, but I will do it in the name of the Lord, and all of this summed together, makes for GLORY. Our Lord says ""This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." He had a previous covenant, and now, He introduces a new covenant. No longer would Manna appear from the sky but it would now appear from the earth. For this God made man, was born and set in a feeding trough, and He became the gift of finest wheat, come to give to us, eternity. As I taste the Holy Eucharist, I taste eternity, I taste of what I can be and will become, bread for the life of the world. What you eat consumes you, and in the spiritual world, the Lord consumes you if you only allow, as far as you will allow. I read from the super long text "We want others to be our slaves and offer their services of love. And whoever won't let themselves be loved, will never learn to love. And Jesus said 'you do not understand now but will understand later". For now, obey. For now, let yourself be washed of what needs to be washed of your temple, your body, your soul. The baptism cleanses us, and the rest, we have to let our Lord cleanse in Confession. Not all are clean. Not all of us are all clean. The Lord desires the washing of the world, consecrated to Him. And how will it begin without me? Take heart...it has begun