Home » Blog » MAUNDY THURSDAY 2013


Maundy Thursday: Jesus’ Prayer for Unity
We have come again to start our celebration of the Triduum, the three days that form the high point of our relationship with Jesus our Lord and Savior.  The Evening Mass of Holy Thursday is important because of the event from which it springs, the Last Supper of the Lord Jesus with his apostles. It was his last gathering with them before he embraces the ultimate fate of the Cross.  After this supper, Jesus proceeds to the garden to pray, to wrestle with God, to prepare himself for surrender to the Father’s will.
But the spirit of this day is not only the meal established as memorial of love and salvation, that will become central to our daily lives.  The spirit of this night also comes from prayer. For on this supper, Jesus prayed in the same way any Jew would pray on the Feast of the Atonement.
What is this prayer of Jesus?  Among other things, it was a prayer for unity. Jesus prays that he may be more intimately united to his Father.  Jesus prays for his disciples to manifest oneness of heart and mind. Jesus prays for the world to be drawn into circle of unity in God and with the disciples he called.
“Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are… I pray not only for them but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may be all one, as you Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (Jn 17: 11b, 20).
Jesus is praying for unity because it is important to him.  He invites us to come closer to God through.  If we are united, the world will believe that he indeed came from the Father.
To bring about this unity, Jesus left behind monuments of faith and love, two important signs that will resound with the call to unity, two sacraments that remind us of unity and make of us one truly one in God.
The first sacrament is the Eucharist we now celebrate. As we break open the Word and as we partake of the One Body of Christ, we are indeed one people gathered around the altar.  Celebrating Mass, any time and anywhere, do we not see in each other the faces of brothers and sisters, and not complete strangers?
The second sacrament is the Priesthood.  Jesus formed a group of apostles around him, intimate with him, familiar and devoted to his vision. When he has gone back to the Father, these men will no longer be just his followers.  They will invite others to be followers of Jesus. They will be their guides and teachers in the new way of life.  The priesthood therefore is born from the heart of mission.  Each priest is another Jesus among us, inviting us to become closer to God and one another.
The universal desire is to create unity in relationships. But surprisingly, the practical trend is not to unite but to divide and separate.  If we are serious for unity, why are there still groups at odds with each other: rich – poor, youth – elderly, educated – ignorant, conservative – liberal, classy – rustic.
Government is invaded by disunity as every politician thinks of polishing his image at the expense of another. Business is full of disunity, as each person tries to outsmart his competitor.  Families are plagued by disunity due to infidelity, hurt, insensitivity. Even if we try to ignore it, we live in a world that is increasingly moving apart.
And so, Jesus’ gift, the Eucharist becomes more relevant.  One who comes to the Eucharist must be open to Jesus and welcoming of the people around him. Are we aware that at Mass, Jesus is destroying walls that divide us?
But how many people truly appreciate the Eucharist and even more accept its challenges to be united and reconciled with others?
The Priesthood too, becomes relevant. The priest is a sign of Christ present among us. No priest is perfect; each priest will refuse to be considered such. But this imperfect vessel is still the sign of Jesus. It is his immense task to gather his brothers and sisters.
But how many of us are united to our priests?  Do we know our priests personally that we are already courageous enough to see only their mistakes and their lack?  Many Catholics listen to people outside the Church but close their ears to the guidance of their priests. Didn’t Jesus say that those who refuse an apostle actually refuse him?
Our community starts today the solemn feasts of faith. There is an invitation that comes with the Last Supper, with the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus – it is unity.  This Holy Week and beyond, are we willing to stop contributing to the collapse of relationships and to start building up this Church?
As we spend the night in prayer, let us pray in a special way with the very intention of Jesus – unity. 
Our parish is 60 years old this year.  Is it also a history of 60 years of unity, love and service? Let us pray as Jesus did. Let us pray as people committed to his dream of making the world one.