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Thursday, March 27, 1997

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Holy Thursday

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
Psalm 116
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-15

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the center of gravity

"This is My body, which is for you." —1 Corinthians 11:24

"The Lord Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed took bread, and after He had given thanks, broke it and said, 'This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me' " (1 Cor 11:23-24). At the conclusion of His resurrection day, Jesus did the same thing. "He took bread, pronounced the blessing, then broke the bread and began to distribute it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized Him" (Lk 24:30-31). After the first Christian Pentecost, the Holy Spirit directed the newborn Church to devote itself to the breaking of the bread, that is, the Eucharist (Acts 2:42). "Every time, then, you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes!" (1 Cor 11:26) In summary, the breaking of the bread, the Eucharist, the Mass, is intimately connected with Jesus' death and resurrection, with Pentecost, and with Jesus' final coming. Thus, the Mass, the new Passover (see Lk 22:15), is central to God's plan of salvation.

At Mass, we receive "the body and blood, soul and divinity" of Jesus Himself. That's why we are obligated to go to Mass every Sunday and privileged to go to Mass every day. That's why we teach on the eucharistic readings in this book, One Bread, One Body. With all your heart, believe in and love Jesus in the Eucharist. From this Holy Thursday on, center your life on receiving Him.

Prayer:  Jesus, give me the desire to go to Mass every day for the rest of my life (see Lk 22:15).

Promise:  "This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the Lord, as a perpetual institution." —Ex 12:14

Praise:  "O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine."

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our booklet, This Is My Body.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 1, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 6, 1996