Maundy Thursday

posted 24 Apr 2019, 05:01 by Parish Office   [ updated 24 Apr 2019, 05:02 ]

Maundy Thursday 2019

- inspiration taken from


No ringing of bells after the Gloria!


“They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him.”  This year, we have heard various news items that are bad news about certain people in the Church.  It can be all rather depressing.  We can feel angry, let down, demoralised, feel like people are laughing at us, and more.  Surely, things shouldn’t be like this.  In the higher levels of the Church, there should be greater holiness, not less.  What has gone wrong?  We can begin to put together theories about why this has happened, but maybe that won’t get us to the real truth, and just get us more worked up in the process.


But we look at the Gospel today, and see that there, on the day of the Last Supper, together with Christ and the faithful disciples, was Judas Iscariot.  Judas was one of the Twelve.  You can’t claim he was somehow ignorant about Christ – he had spent three years with him.  He was able to speak to Jesus face to face, privately if necessary.  But still, for some reason, he didn’t convert.  And being a traitor wasn’t the only fault he had.  Earlier in St John’s Gospel, we read:


“Then Judas Iscariot … said, ‘Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor?’  He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contributions.”  (Jn 12:6)


Our Lord knew that Judas was going to betray Him.  But that didn’t paralyse Him.  We heard tonight, “Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.”  Despite what was about to happen, God was in control.


It reminds us of the stilling of the storm on the sea.  The disciples were in the boat, and the storm grew stronger and stronger, and they thought that it was all going to be over.  Yet Christ was asleep.  In their fright and desperation, they woke Him up, even saying “Do you not care?”  But with a word from Christ, the storm was stilled to a whisper.  On a few different occasions, Pope Benedict referred to the state of the Church as being like a boat that was in the midst of a storm.  The point once again is that despite what may be going on around us, with Christ, we are secure.


Back to the Last Supper.  Christ knew what was coming up.  He knew who it was who would betray Him.  But, as they say, the show must go on; and even more than that: the tragedy that was to follow, was going to result in glory, even if there was temporary confusion and scattering of the disciples.


The accounts of the Last Supper are some of the most beautiful passages in the Gospels.  If the recent bad news stories have made you waver and wonder why you are part of the Catholic Church, then this is the reason why.  The Church is all about Christ gathering us together.  He reveals to us His Heart.  Christ tells the Twelve:  “A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends, if you do what I command you” (John 15:13-14).  In the Eucharist, Christ gives Himself completely, totally and freely:  This is my body, which is given up for you … This is my blood, which is poured out for you.  This is where we ourselves are most truly the Church, the mystical Body of Christ, gathered together with the Lord to celebrate the Eucharist.  Just recall what a great desire Christ had in His heart to celebrate the Mass:  “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15); another translation could be:  “How I have longed to eat this passover with you before I suffer”.  And Christ instituted the priesthood so that this most holy sacrament could be celebrated down throughout the ages, until time is no more.


As part of the Passover ritual, the youngest at table asks the question, “Why is this night different from all other nights?”  In the film The Passion of the Christ, Mary Magdalene gives the response, “Because once we were slaves, and we are slaves no longer”.  Christ’s saving Death and Resurrection mean that sin doesn’t have to have the final word.  Through the Eucharist, we can be brought into contact with Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection – we don’t have to be slaves to sin any more!  But that depends on our response.  The response of Judas was different to the response of Peter and the response of John.


At the first celebration of the Mass, the Church was gathered together with Christ, and despite one of the people there having plans to betray the Lord, he was unable to stop God’s plan.  Today, we recall that first Eucharist once again, and we know, that no matter what the problems are in the Church, the Lord is with us, and He is the one who is in control.