Thursday, March 28, 2013
Holy Thursday: If You Love Me, Keep My Commandments
"If you love Me, keep My commandments."~ John 14:15
The Last Supper combined the Old Testament’s ceremonies, which are now superseded forever, with the New and Eternal Covenant. The Paschal lamb, which lay pierced by a spit in the form of a cross, preceded the institution of the Blessed Eucharist. The sacrificial lamb served as a mere figure-type for Jesus Christ while the flat bread with bitter herbs prefigured the Eucharist, which is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, both Sacrifice and Sacrament.
On this holy night, Jesus gave us Himself, through the power He bestowed upon the Apostles so that the Eternal Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist would be daily given. He made many promises and prophecies to encourage the Apostles so they would afterward remember His words and know that He knew all things. He warned of the betrayal soon to come, not for His own sake but as a final attempt save Judas from the suicidal despair that led to the eternal damnation of his soul.
He taught the Apostles once more, when they argued who would have first place in the kingdom of God.
He washed their Feet, as an example to them, the hierarchy of the Church, to practice the virtues of charity and humility and to always remember that the only purpose of the priestly vocations is the salvation of souls.
He spoke to Peter, so that the first Pope would later remember that when he failed, he would truly repent and truly be forgiven; he would learn a bitter lesson that would lead him to the next stage of his spiritual conversion, and inevitably Peter, as his special office decrees, would strengthen the other Apostles: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” (Luke 22: 31-32)
He spoke again of His forthcoming suffering, because He also wanted to restore the peace of the Apostle’s souls: “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. I go to prepare a place for you…. And I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you also may be. And wither I go, you know, and the way you know.” (John 14: 1-4)
St. Thomas, always questioning, said: “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” And Jesus answered, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh to the Father, but by Me. If you had known Me, you would without doubt have known my Father also: and from henceforth you shall know Him, and you have seen Him.” (John 14: 5-7)
St. Philip was not satisfied, so he said: “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus, sounding astonished, said to him, “Have I been so long a time with you; and have you not known Me? Philip, he that seeth Me seeth the Father also. How sayest thou, Show us the Father? Do you not believe, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you, I speak not of Myself. But the Father who abideth in Me, He doth the works. Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? Otherwise believe for the very works' sake. Amen, amen I say to you, he that believeth in Me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do. Because I go to the Father: and whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, that will I do: that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask Me any thing in My name, that I will do. If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14; 8-15)
Our Lord, Jesus Christ prepares a place for all of us - “that where I am you also may be” - but we must keep His commandments. All that He said on the night He was betrayed came from the depths of His Most Sacred Heart. All of His suffering life and His bitter Passion and Death will be offered for this end. He took on our human nature to save us, but nothing will satisfy Him unless we remember and live by this Truth: If He wishes us to be with Him now in poverty, in labor, in suffering, in charity and humility, it is only because it is His will “that where I am you also may be” – with Him forever in Heaven.