|The Mass of the Lord's Supper was offered for the people of this parish|
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered by Fr Ray for the people of the parish today on this sacred day, Holy Thursday, marking the first day of the Sacred Triduum. The Mass of the Lord's Supper commemorates that holy day when our Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Mass, the first Mass, in the presence of His Apostles.
|The Altar of Repose|
In a very real sense, the vivid recollection of Jesus's arrest and imprisonment is this year something that strikes us all as something altogether even more personal. The reaction to Covid-19 has led our government to place the most stringent safeguards upon Catholics and indeed the whole population of the United Kingdom. Most Catholics around the world are experiencing Christ's imprisonment in a personal way, they are for the most part, especially if vulnerable, shut in, enclosed, isolated, some alone.
The psychological burden of being in 'lockdown' leads us to being reclusive, often introspective, locked away, for most of us against our will, even if we understand that it is not for any real or perceived crime and that precautions for the sake of public health have been strongly advised.
While we may not experience the same harrowing cruelty that Christ experienced in His prison, since many of us still have access to certain comforts which we surround ourselves with, many Catholics will feel this evening a profound anguish and sense of disappointment that they are unable to be where they want to be this evening, at Mass, honouring the Lord's great gifts to His Church, remembering with faith and devotion the events leading up to His Passion and Death. The liturgy on this day in this Mass ends tradtionally with a Procession to the Altar of Repose.
There the Pange Lingua is intoned by the celebrant in darkness as lighted candles are placed before the Altar of Repose created for the Lord and many faithful stay for a long time to make a vigil with Christ, our Eucharistic Lord, the Prisoner of the Tabernacle, bringing their own burdens to Him, offering prayer for themselves and loved ones, in penitence and in atonement for sin, keeping the Lord company and finding consolation in His Eucharistic Presence.
That the Faithful are unable to attend this liturgy this year, nor make these consoling devotions is a cause of grief, anxiety and pain to so many. To the priest, who, like Christ made present on the Altar, is both priest and victim in the Mass, the loss of the presence of the Flock on this sacred day in the Church's year, is a great sadness and every parishioner is in his continued prayers.
The priesthood of the Faithful baptised is important in the Church today, for as ever the lay faithful are called to pray, to offer sacrifice in their lives, to offer themselves to God, to intercede for the Church and the World, to pray for the Salvation of the World. The present emergency situation calls us all to cling more tightly than ever to the Lord Jesus and His Cross, many are struggling with the psychological and spiritual pain that this unexpected season of separation from the liturgical life of the Church has brought upon us as well as the sense that the world is closing in on them more generally. Let us plead with the Lord our God that He will bring to an end this separation and impediment, free captives, end pestilence, grant wisdom to our leaders and bring us all together in worship of God soon.
To learn more about Holy Thursday, a good link can be found here.