At the Mass In Coena Domini on Holy Thursday, Prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace (April 1, 2010)
My dear brothers, and my dear sons
1. Ecce ego vobiscum sum omnibus diebus usque ad consummationem saeculi (Mt 28:20): Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age. Surely the apostles, on hearing these words of Christ moments before his ascension into heaven, did not understand how he was to fulfill this promise. Nevertheless, obeying Jesus’ com- mand, they returned to the Holy City and gathered in the Cenacle, praying together with Mary Most Holy.
A few days later, when the Paraclete descended visibly upon them, they understood what Jesus had told them. There came to their memory, with divine clarity, the teachings of the Master and so many moments lived at his side; among others, the hours spent with him in that same place, the Cenacle of Jerusalem, be- fore the Sacrifice of Calvary. On that first Holy Thursday, our Lord took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, say- ing, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:24-25). And St. Paul adds: For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you pro- claim the Lord’s death until he comes (Ibid, 26).
The Most Holy Eucharist is the divine way by which Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, fulfilled his promise: he went to heaven and he remained with us until the end of time. Only an infinite Love like his could have carried out this miracle. And here we have him, truly hidden beneath the sacramental species: with his Body, his Blood, his Soul, and his Divinity. During this Mass in Cena Domini we commemorate the institution of the Eucharist and we thank him for it in a special way. But every day the redeeming sacrifice of Calvary becomes sacramentally present on the altar, for our good and our salvation.
Let us now say to Jesus, truly, really, and substantially with us in the Sacred Host: Adoro te devote, latens Deitas. I want to adore you, Lord, like the saints who have adored you most here on earth; and, like them, I want to bring you to all humanity, so that you can heal us, so that you can give us your Life.
2. Jesus came to converse with men, to save them, to give himself to everyone: to you and to me. And now he looks at us with the same concern that he had for the blind, crippled and deaf people whom he cured during his earthly life; with the same forgiveness that he dispensed to Dismas, the repentant thief, and to the sinners who drew close to him with contrition.
We beseech you, Lord, sincerely, that you exchange our heart of stone—which we still so often hold on to—for a heart of flesh, that knows how to love cleanly, with complete generosity, in order to serve you, honor you and praise you more fully and more frequently; and with you, to love and serve all souls.
The Eucharist is a mystery of faith and love. With your help, Jesus, since you want us to be one with you, we will try to be more refined in our Eucharistic life, to become, with your grace, “totally, essentially Eu- charistic,” as St. Josemaría wrote. Because our life, Lord, that of each one of us, will come to nothing if we don’t seek you, if we don’t converse with you, if we don’t love you.
3. We are living in the Church the Year for Priests that the Pope convoked on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the death of the Holy Curé of Ars. And precisely today we commemorate the moment when Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders. He did so at the same time as the Eucharist, when he said to his apostles—and, in them, to all bishops and priests—those words that we have already recalled: do this in memory of me (Lk 22:19).
Let us give thanks to God for this goodness of his, without which we would not be able to personally receive the fruits of the Redemption. Let us recall some words of the Curé of Ars, which Benedict XVI included in his letter for the Year for Priests: “Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest.”
We all have the duty to pray a lot for priests, that they be holy. And we should not let a single day go by without raising our prayer to heaven, asking the divine sower, Jesus Christ, to place in the souls of many men the call to the priesthood.
4. We need to purify ourselves so that our Lord can dwell in our souls. He wants this. Ecce sto ad ostium et pulso (Rev 3:20), he says to each of us: behold, I am standing at your door and knocking. Let us not turn a deaf ear to his petitions; let us open wide the doors of our heart. If we do this, as St. Josemaría said, “we will feel the need to correspond in what is most important, and that is love. And we will know how to spread that love among other men, with a life of service” (Christ Is Passing By, no. 94).
Only thus, by allowing Jesus to enter fully into our life, will we be
able to look at the world with his eyes, love others with his Heart. Though his self-giving in the Eucharist, he is inviting us to participate in his Life. Thus the Eucharist is what spurs us to be apostolic: zeal for souls is the ripe fruit of one who truly tries to be a Eucharistic soul.
Let us go to our Lady. Mary, as Pope John Paul II wrote, is the Eucharistic woman par excellence, for she was always very close to Jesus on earth. Now, from heaven, she is constantly concerned about us, about our happiness, our salvation. We beseech her: Mother of ours, place us within your immaculate Heart, purify us, fill us with love for your Son Jesus, so that we can spread this love to many other souls. Amen
Romana, No. 50, January-June 2010, p. 84-86.