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How does the Church celebrate Holy Thursday?

This video clip can be viewed at the Rome Reports website.

Prayer

Today I attended the Stations of the Cross on the Wintershall Estate just outside of Guildford. This is the second time I ve attended and it was more powerful than the first. Our leader used two copies of the Stations, one from Mary’s perspective and one for everyone. It was certainly a very profound and moving experience for me this year, as a whole year has passed and my life experience portfolio is more extensive than last years’. As a result, my perception and understanding  of the meditations affected me profoundly.

Wintershall is a beautiful, sprawling Estate in Surrey, and the way of the Cross leads one up a winding hill, making you stop to meditate at the different sculptures representing Christ’s journey to His Cross. Above is a picture I took of a beautiful rendition of Christ in the tomb. The  prepared Christ is laid within the tangled  roots of a huge tree, with the ‘large tombstone’ just to the right of the body. Surrounded by natural beauty , peace and quiet, with birdsong as an accompaniment it was just uplifting.  This represents the 14th station. We came over the rise of the hill, to be greeted by a flock of sheep boasting numerous Spring lambs. What a sight to behold. Just beautiful.

Spy Wednesday

 

thirty-pieces-of-silver

In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) we see that 30 pieces of silver was what a slave was sold for, which wasn’t a lot of money. Judas Iscariot betrayed Our Lord for the classic “30 pieces of silver” and Jesus knew it.

Holy Wednesday was known as Spy Wednesday in reference to the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Escariot. Judas went to the Sanhedrin who were plotting against Jesus and offered them his support in exchange for 30 pieces of silver. The events that lead Jesus to the cross are filled with intrigue, suspense and an impending sense of disaster, thus it was called Spy Wednesday. The events that lead Jesus to the cross are filled with intrigue, suspense and an impending sense of disaster.

The powers of good and evil, light and darkness, sin and salvation are poised to exhibit themselves at the place we call Golgotha. At the Last Supper, Jesus leaned to Judas and said “whatever you have to do, do it now!” (John 13:27) Judas ran out of the Last Supper ashamed, because he was filled with Satan, and later, turned Jesus over to the authorities with a kiss!! Judas in his interrogatory and somewhat cynical statement during the Last Supper of, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” provides the catalyst for the process of darkness to unravel.

spytues

Judas leaves the Last Supper

What is so significant about this, “Spy Wednesday” is that it theologically reflects the daily struggles we all endure in order to accept a relationship with the Lord. As preparations begin for the Church’s celebration of our New Passover, this Wednesday before the Triduum invites all of us to share in, “Holy Wednesday”, not to pursue darkness and evil, but progress on the path of Light and Life.  The Church in its wisdom sees this period of “Holy Wednesday” as a time for personal preparation.  Unlike Judas, our preparations should be motivated by the promise of new life in the Paschal Mystery and not a rejection of the “morsel” which Jesus offers to us in friendship and love.