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Reading and Reflections

Maundy Thursday

Lectionary Readings on Thursday March 24, 2016

EX 12: 1 -14

The Passover Ritual Prescribed.* 1The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2* This month will stand at the head of your calendar; you will reckon it the first month of the year. a 3Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every family must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household. 4If a household is too small for a lamb, it along with its nearest neighbor will procure one, and apportion the lamb’s cost* in proportion to the number of persons, according to what each household consumes. 5Your lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish. You may take it from either the sheep or the goats. 6You will keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole community of Israel assembled, it will be slaughtered during the evening twilight. 7They will take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8They will consume its meat that same night, eating it roasted with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9Do not eat any of it raw or even boiled in water, but roasted, with its head and shanks and inner organs. 10You must not keep any of it beyond the morning; whatever is left over in the morning must be burned up.

11This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you will eat it in a hurry. It is the LORD’s Passover. 12For on this same night I will go through Egypt, striking down every firstborn in the land, human being and beast alike, and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD!b 13But for you the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thereby, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you.c

14This day will be a day of remembrance for you, which your future generations will celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD; you will celebrate it as a statute forever.

Lev 16: 1 -10

The Day of Atonement. 1* After the death of Aaron’s two sons, a who died when they encroached on the LORD’s presence, the LORD spoke to Moses 2and said to him: Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he pleases* into the inner sanctuary, inside the veil, b in front of the cover on the ark, lest he die, for I reveal myself in a cloud above the ark’s cover. 3Only in this way may Aaron enter the inner sanctuary. He shall bring a bull of the herd for a purification offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4He shall wear the sacred linen tunic, with the linen pants underneath, gird himself with the linen sash and put on the linen turban.c But since these vestments are sacred, he shall not put them on until he has first bathed his body in water. d 5From the Israelite community he shall receive two male goats for a purification offering and one ram for a burnt offering.

6Aaron shall offer the bull, his purification offering, to make atonement* for himself and for his household. 7Taking the two male goats and setting them before the LORD at the entrance of the tent of meeting, 8he shall cast lotse to determine which one is for the LORD and which for Azazel. * f 9The goat that is determined by lot for the LORD, Aaron shall present and offer up as a purification offering. 10But the goat determined by lot for Azazel he shall place before the LORD alive, so that with it he may make atonement by sending it off to Azazel in the desert.

Ezek 45: 18 – 25

The Passover. 18Thus says the Lord GOD: On the first day of the first month you shall take an unblemished young bull to purify the sanctuary.d 19The priest shall take some of the blood from the purification offering and smear it on the doorposts of the house, on the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and on the doorposts of the gates of the inner courtyard.e 20You shall repeat this on the seventh day of the month for those who have sinned inadvertently or out of ignorance; thus you shall purge the temple.f21On the fourteenth day of the first month you shall observe the feast of Passover; for seven days unleavened bread must be eaten. 22On that day the prince shall sacrifice, on his own behalf and on behalf of all the people of the land, a bull as a purification offering. 23On each of the seven days of the feast he shall sacrifice, as a burnt offering to the LORD, seven bulls and seven rams without blemish, and as a purification offering he shall sacrifice one male goat each day.g 24As a grain offering he shall offer one ephah for each bull and one ephah for each ram and one hin* of oil for each ephah. h

Zech 13: 7 -9

The Song of the Sword

7Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,

against the one who is my associate

—oracle of the LORD of hosts.

Strike the shepherd

that the sheep may be scattered;* f

I will turn my hand against the little ones.

8In all the land—oracle of the LORD—

two thirds of them will be cut off and perish,

and one third will be left.

9I will bring the one third through the fire;

I will refine them as one refines silver, g

and I will test them as one tests gold.

They will call upon my name, and I will answer them; h

I will say, “They are my people,” i

and they will say, “The LORD is my God.”

Rev 19: 5-16;

he Victory Song.* 5A voice coming from the throne said:

“Praise our God, all you his servants,

[and] you who revere him, small and great.”c

6Then I heard something like the sound of a great multitude or the sound of rushing water or mighty peals of thunder, as they said:

“Alleluia!

The Lord has established his reign,

[our] God, the almighty.

7Let us rejoice and be glad

and give him glory.

For the wedding day of the Lamb* has come,

his bride has made herself ready. d

8She was allowed to wear

a bright, clean linen garment.” e

(The linen represents the righteous deeds of the holy ones.) *

9Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed* are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These words are true; they come from God.” f 10I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t! I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brothers who bear witness to Jesus. Worship God.g Witness to Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” *

The King of Kings. 11* Then I saw the heavens opened, and there was a white horse; its rider was [called] “Faithful and True.” He judges and wages war in righteousness. h 12His eyes were [like] a fiery flame, and on his head were many diadems. He had a name* inscribed that no one knows except himself. i 13He wore a cloak that had been dipped in* blood, and his name was called the Word of God. j 14The armies of heaven followed him, mounted on white horses and wearing clean white linen.k 15Out of his mouth came a sharp sword to strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he himself will tread out in the wine press* the wine of the fury and wrath of God the almighty. l 16He has a name written on his cloak and on his thigh, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”m

1Cor 11; 23-34

Tradition of the Institution. 23* For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, k that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, 24and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”l 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

27Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.* 28A person should examine himself,* and so eat the bread and drink the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment* on himself. 30That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying. 31If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment; 32but since we are judged by [the] Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.m

33Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that your meetings may not result in judgment. The other matters I shall set in order when I come.

Lk 22: 14-23

The Last Supper.h 14When the hour came, he took his place at table with the apostles. 15He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover* with you before I suffer, 16for, I tell you, I shall not eat it [again] until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”i 17Then he took a cup,* gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; 18for I tell you [that] from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19* j Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” 20And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.k

The Betrayal Foretold. 21l “And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray me is with me on the table; 22for the Son of Man indeed goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.” 23And they began to debate among themselves who among them would do such a deed.


Reflections

Passover is the day of identification and passing over: God identified the houses of Israel as His own by seeing the blood of the lamb and passed them; so that they were saved from the killing of the first born.

Passover is the day of purification and passing away from the slavery.It is the day that divides between the days of slavery and ownership. In other words from slavery they are getting son-ship.

Till today the significance of the day is same. We the new Israel needs to purify us from the all sins and keep us away from the sinful environment. So that we pass from the slavery of sin to the son-ship by the blood of Christ Jesus and we inherits the ownership of the people of God; means we owns God.

Do you want to see a miracle in this 21 st century, go to a Catholic Church and attend a Holy Mass; there you will see the greatest miracle of every time, when the simple priest by handling the bread say this is my body, the very moment it is turned in to Christ body and same for the chalice too. Oh what a wonderful thing unexplainable mystery. Do you think this is only a story please see the following scientific evidence from our time.

A consecrated Host becomes flesh and blood

At seven o’clock in the evening on August 18, 1996, Fr. Alejandro Pezet was saying Holy Mass at a Catholic church in the commercial center of Buenos Aires. As he was finishing distributing Holy Communion, a woman came up to tell him that she had found a discarded host on a candleholder at the back of the church. On going to the spot indicated, Fr. Alejandro saw the defiled Host. Since he was unable to consume it, he placed it in a container of water and put it away in the tabernacle of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.

On Monday, August 26, upon opening the tabernacle, he saw to his amazement that the Host had turned into a bloody substance. He informed Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who gave instructions that the Host be professionally photographed. The photos were taken on September 6. They clearly show that the Host, which had become a fragment of bloodied flesh, had grown significantly in size. For several years the Host remained in the tabernacle, the whole affair being kept a strict secret. Since the Host suffered no visible decomposition, Cardinal Bergoglio decided to have it scientifically analyzed.

On October 5, 1999, in the presence of the Cardinal’s representatives, Dr. Castanon took a sample of the bloody fragment and sent it to New York for analysis. Since he did not wish to prejudice the study, he purposely did not inform the team of scientists of its provenance. One of these scientists was Dr. Frederic Zugiba, the well-known cardiologist and forensic pathologist. He determined that the analyzed substance was real flesh and blood containing human DNA. Zugiba testified that, “the analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle close to the valves. This muscle is responsible for the contraction of the heart. It should be borne in mind that the left cardiac ventricle pumps blood to all parts of the body. The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white blood cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken. It is my contention that the heart was alive, since white blood cells die outside a living organism. They require a living organism to sustain them. Thus, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken. What is more, these white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest.”

Two Australians, journalist Mike Willesee and lawyer Ron Tesoriero, witnessed these tests. Knowing where sample had come from, they were dumbfounded by Dr. Zugiba’s testimony. Mike Willesee asked the scientist how long the white blood cells would have remained alive if they had come from a piece of human tissue, which had been kept in water. They would have ceased to exist in a matter of minutes, Dr. Zugiba replied. The journalist then told the doctor that the source of the sample had first been kept in ordinary water for a month and then for another three years in a container of distilled water; only then had the sample been taken for analysis. Dr. Zugiba’s was at a loss to account for this fact. There was no way of explaining it scientifically, he stated. Only then did Mike Willesee inform Dr. Zugiba that the analyzed sample came from a consecrated Host (white, unleavened bread) that had mysteriously turned into bloody human flesh. Amazed by this information, Dr. Zugiba replied, “How and why a consecrated Host would change its character and become living human flesh and blood will remain an inexplicable mystery to science—a mystery totally beyond her competence.”

Only faith in the extraordinary action of a God provides the reasonable answer—faith in a God, who wants to make us aware that He is truly present in the mystery of the Eucharist.

The Eucharistic miracle in Buenos Aires is an extraordinary sign attested to by science. Through it Jesus desires to arouse in us a lively faith in His real presence in the Eucharist. He reminds us that His presence is real, and not symbolic. Only with the eyes of faith do we see Him under appearance of the consecrated bread and wine. We do not see Him with our bodily eyes, since He is present in His glorified humanity. In the Eucharist Jesus sees and loves us and desires to save us.

In collaboration with Ron Tesoriero, Mike Willesee, one of Australia’s best-known journalists (he converted to Catholicism after working on the documents of another Eucharistic miracle) wrote a book entitled Reason to Believe. In it they present documented facts of Eucharistic miracles and other signs calling people to faith in Christ who abides and teaches in the Catholic Church. They have also made a documentary film on the Eucharist—based largely on the scientific discoveries associated with the miraculous Host in Buenos Aires. Their aim was to give a clear presentation of the Catholic Church’s teaching on the subject of the Eucharist. They screened the film in numerous Australian cities. The showing at Adelaide drew a crowd of two thousand viewers. During the commentary and question period that followed a visibly moved man stood up announcing that he was blind. Having learned that this was an exceptional film, he had very much wanted to see it. Just before the screening, he prayed fervently to Jesus for the grace to see the film. At once his sight was restored to him, but only for the thirty-minute duration of the film. Upon its conclusion, he again lost the ability to see. He confirmed this by describing in minute detail certain scenes of the film. It was an incredible event that moved those present to the core of their being.

Through such wondrous signs God calls souls to conversion. If Jesus causes the Host to become visible flesh and blood, a muscle that is responsible for the contraction of a human heart—a heart that suffers like that of someone who has been beaten severely about the chest, if He does such things, it is in order to arouse and quicken our faith in His real presence in the Eucharist. He thus enables us to see that Holy Mass is a re-presentation (i.e. a making present) of the entire drama of our salvation: Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. Jesus says to his disciples, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe”(Jn 4: 48). There is no need to actively seek out wondrous signs. But if Jesus chooses to give them to us, then it behooves us to accept them with meekness and seek to understand what He desires to tell us by them. Thanks to these signs, many people have discovered faith in God—the One God in the Holy Trinity, who reveals His Son to us: Jesus Christ, who abides in the sacraments and teaches us through Holy Scripture and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

A mystery that surpasses our understanding

 The Eucharist—the actual presence of the risen person of Jesus under the appearances of bread and wine—is one of the most important and most difficult truths revealed to us by Christ. Eucharistic miracles are merely visible confirmations of what He tells us about Himself; namely, that He really does give us His glorified body and blood as spiritual food and drink.

Jesus established the Eucharist on the eve of His passion, death, and resurrection. During the Last Supper, He “took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, gave thanks,and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Mat 26: 26-28). When Jesus took and gave the apostles the bread and wine, He said, “this is my body….this is my blood” by which He clearly meant that the bread and wine which He gave them to eat and drink really was His body and blood, and not some sort of symbol.

Earlier, in the famous Eucharistic sermon recorded by St. John the Evangelist, Jesus said to the Jews:“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6: 53-56). Shocked by Jesus’ words, the Jews said, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (Jn 6: 52). Many of Jesus’ disciples were also scandalized. “This saying is hard,” they objected, “who can accept it?” Knowing that the truth of the Eucharist was a shock and a scandal to many of His listeners, Jesus responded not by retracting His words, but by raising the stakes: “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life”” (Jn 6: 62-63). Here Jesus goes to the heart of the mystery by anticipating the glorification of His humanity through His death, resurrection, and ascension. He will give His flesh and blood as food and drink after the Ascension; that is, when His flesh and blood have been glorified and divinized, for, unglorified, “flesh” is indeed “of no avail.”

Not all Jesus’ listeners accepted His teaching of the Eucharist. Thus He turned to them, saying, “‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him” (Jn 6: 65). Judas’ betrayal began with his rejection of Jesus’ teaching about His real presence in the Eucharist. In confirmation of this fact, Jesus said, “‘Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?’ He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot; it was he who would betray him, one of the Twelve” (Jn 6: 70-71).

The Eucharist is the Risen Jesus Himself in His glorified, and thus invisible, humanity. This is the essence of His teaching of the Eucharist (Jn 6: 62-63). By its death and resurrection, the humanity of Jesus takes on a divine nature; it assumes a new order of existence: “For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity, bodily” (Col 2: 9). In His glorified humanity, the Risen Jesus, becoming omnipresent, gives of Himself in the gift of the Eucharist. He shares with us His resurrected life and love that we may even here on earth experience the reality of heaven and partake of the life of the Holy Trinity.

Confronting the mystery of the Eucharist, human reason feels its impotence and limitations. In his encyclical devoted this sacrament, John Paul II writes: “‘The consecration of the bread and wine effects the change of the whole substance of the bead into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. And the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called this change transubstantiation.’ Truly the Eucharist is a mysterium fidei, a mystery which surpasses our understanding and can only be received in faith, as is often brought out in the catechesis of the Church Fathers regarding this divine sacrament: ‘Do not see—Saint Cyril of Jerusalem exhorts—in the bread and wine merely natural elements, because the Lord has expressly said that they are his body and his blood: faith assures you of this, though your senses suggest otherwise’” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 15).

The Eucharist is Christ’s supreme gift and miracle, for in it He gives us Himself and engages us in His work of salvation. He enables us to participate in His victory over death, sin, and Satan, share in the divine nature, and partake of the life of the Holy Trinity. In the Eucharist we receive “the medicine of immortality, the antidote to death” (EE, 18). For this reason, Mother Church holds that every deliberate and freely willed absence from Holy Mass on Sunday is an irretrievable spiritual loss, a sign of loss of faith, and hence a serious sin. Let us also remember that if “a Christian’s conscience is burdened by serious sin, then the path of penance through the sacrament of Reconciliation becomes necessary for full participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice” (EE, 37). 

(This is taken from the website Love one Another. Author: ks. Mieczyslaw Piotrowski TChr).

Do you know who is this cardinal who sent this Holy Bread for the scientific test; Pope Francis.



-- 
Fr.Mathai Mannoorvadakkethil




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