Sister Patrick Leonard Murphy
Holy Thursday-Chrism Mass
Reading Is 61:1-3-3a, 6a, 8b-9 Psalm 89:21-22,25,27 Lk 4:16-21
Ex 12:1-8, 11-14 Ps 116 Rf: Cor 10:16 Cor 11:23-26 Jn 13:34 Jn 13:1-15
Today the Church gives us an abundance of Scripture blessings, because of the two distinct liturgies of the day…the readings for the Chrism Mass, and those for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The readings, as well as the liturgies are intended to touch us at two different places in our journey.
Scripture, The Word of God, as we know, is spoken and written for all time, for all people, and for each of us individually. The Scripture readings of the Chrism Mass have special meaning to me mainly because of a time and place where they became “alive” for me.
I was privileged to lector at the First Mass of a young priest in rural Illinois in the late 1970’s. As God spoke these words to this young farmer, to his parent, his relatives and to the small farm parish who had nourished him through his Baptism, his 1st Communion, his Confirmation, Ordination and now were about to hear him proclaim the Gospel of the Lord, the words of Isaiah took on new meaning and became truly the Word of the Lord.
The Spirit of the Lord had come upon these people. The Lord “had come to them today” in a new and profound way. Tom had been “anointed to bring his Good News, to heal, to comfort and to help all of us keep our covenant.” No more “listless spirits” in that church on that day! Because by Jesus’ anointing, so we had become filled with the Spirit of God.
The Gospel follows with the words of Isaiah reiterated. As the young priest read them on that day so long ago, folded the Scriptures and sat down, a rural community had heard God speak. It will be worth your day today to find the Scripture readings.
The Holy Thursday Lord’s Supper Readings are as distinct in their meaning and tone. They tell two stories we all know so well, two stories that must be connected to have any meaning at all. God once saved a chosen people and asked that they celebrate that gift each year. Returning, the Son of God celebrated the very feast with a Blessing Cup of his own on a feast of his own and named it Maundy…as he was to give us the greatest of his mandates on that night, along with the greatest of his gifts…”Love One Another, As I Have Loved You….This is My Body…This is My Blood.”