Introduction to 1 Samuel
- Written at about 1000 B.C. by the Deuteronomists, the book starts off with a man named Eli serving as God's priest. But God decides that a young man named Samuel should be in charge, so when Eli eventually dies, Samuel takes over as priest and prophet. Everything's coming up Samuel. Hence the title.
- The people of Israel decide they need a king, so God makes Samuel appoint a man named Saul, who's kind of the worst. To make a long story short, Saul is a terrible king, so Samuel has to go find someone else.
- After a long search, Samuel ends up in Bethlehem (way before Jesus was born there), where he meets an adorable young shepherd named David, he anoints David on the spot.
- Fast-forward a good long while, and the Israelite army is ready to fight the Philistines. Every Israelite soldier is too scared to fight Goliath, the Philistine champion, so David steps forward like a champ. Overly confident, Goliath is defeated by a stone being flung through his skull by David. Boom. Now everyone loves David. Even Saul... sort of. Well, maybe not so much Saul.
- Now that David has gone from zero to hero, everyone has the David fever except for Saul. He tries to kill David several times out of jealousy for his new found fame and power. And the Game of Thrones has begun. What follows until the end of 1 Samuel is a series of plot twists, battles, more plot twists, and more battles until (spoiler alert) Saul is killed on the battlefield. 1 Samuel ends on a cliffhanger, but don't worry, as with all good action adventures, there's a sequel.
Political intrigue? Check. Power plays? Check. Epic battles? Check. Seriously, 1 Samuel has all the makings of every awesome R-rated movie or rated Mature TV show to grace the HBO airwaves. And our man David's the star.
So here is the real question: if the book is really about David, why is the book titled Samuel?
Fine, we'll just tell you. Although the book has got David fever along with the rest of the Israelites, as Prophet-in-Residence, Samuel's there every step of the way. In fact, it's because of Samuel that most of the events transpire. He's the Gandalf to David's Bilbo. The Dumbledore to his Harry. Without the old gray wizard to guide, there is no unexpected journey and adventure. Without Samuel, there's no Game of Thrones for Israel.
Why Should I Care?
Because you loved The Mighty Ducks, Rudy, and Star Wars. Because no one—and we mean no one—has ever said no to a good underdog story, and 1 Samuel is a classic.
Some of our greatest tales are based on the old little-dude-defeats-big-dude plot, and this one's no exception. From his very humble beginnings as a shepherd boy, David has to contend with all kinds of Big Bads every step of the way. See, 1 Samuel is one of the original underdog stories and it's not just about one big foe. David is constantly struggling to be the bigger man, whether it's against Goliath, Saul, or even himself at times.
And yes—it even has a sequel.
Holy Thursday: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper
1 Samuel, Chapter 4, Verse 20
She was about to die when the women standing around her said to her, “Do not be afraid, you have given birth to a son.” Yet she neither answered nor paid any attention.
The Ark of the Covenant was the glory of Israel who had by this time had become no better than their neighbors and they worshiped the gods of their neighbors. Additionally, as they descended, they warred with each other rather than the nations opposed to them. The Ark was now considered a powerful talisman in war and when the Israelites bring it into battle with the Philistines it is captured, and the glory of Israel departs. The cause was the corruption of the priestly family of Eli who forgot the way of God. God would call another Priest: Samuel and the house of Eli was brought down.
Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall
· The Israelites lose a battle against the Philistine army. The Philistines are a sea people and a superior fighting force. The Israelites rarely stand a chance against them (1-2).
· The Israelites decide to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the camp with them so they might win the battle the next day. Everyone gets so excited when the Ark makes its way into camp, the echoes of joy reach all the way to the Philistine camp and they become afraid.
· The next day, the Philistines fight even harder and they steal the Ark for themselves. So much for that plan, Israelites. Oh, and Hophni and Phinehas die just as prophesied (3-11).
· A messenger comes to deliver the news of Israel's defeat. Eli, sitting in his place of power on the outer wall, receives the news of the defeat, the loss of the Ark, and the death of his sons.
· He promptly falls backwards from his seat, breaks his neck, and dies. Little known fact: Humpty Dumpty is based on Eli. Little known fact: that was a lie (14-18).
· Phinehas' pregnant wife, upon hearing of his demise, goes into labor and gives birth to a son. She is so sad, she names the child Ichabod, which means the glory has departed from Israel. Sorry kid, you're stuck with it (19-22).
Holy Thursday: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper 
ON this day the Church commemorates the institution of the holy sacrifice of the Mass and of the Blessed Eucharist, or the Sacrament of the Altar. The Introit of the Mass of the day is as follows: We ought to glory in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in Whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection, by Whom we have been saved and delivered. May God have mercy on us and bless us; may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us, and may He have mercy on us.
Prayer. O God, from Whom Judas received the punishment of his guilt, and the good thief the reward of his confession, grant us the effect of Thy mercy, that as Our Lord Jesus Christ, in His passion, gave to each different retribution, according to his deserts, so He would take from us our old errors, and grant us the grace of His resurrection.
EPISTLE, i. Cor. xi. 20-32.
Brethren: When you come together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord s supper. For everyone taketh before his own supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry, and another is drunk. What! have you not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the Church of God, and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you?
In this I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you: that the Lord Jesus, the same night ill which He was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat : this is My body, which shall be delivered for you : this do for the commemoration of Me. Tn like manner, also, the chalice, after He had supped, saying: This chalice is the New Testament in My blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of Me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until He come. Therefore, whoso ever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord un worthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. Therefore, are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep. But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world.
GOSPEL. John xiii. 1-15.
Before the festival-day of the Pasch, Jesus knowing that His hour was come, that He should pass out of this world to the Father: having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And when supper was done (the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him), knowing that the Father had given Him all things into His hands, and that He came from God, and goeth to God : He riseth from supper, and layeth aside His garments, and having taken a towel, girded Himself. After that, He putteth water into a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded. He cometh therefore to Simon Peter. And Peter saith to Him: Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?
Jesus answered, and said to him: What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith to Him: Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him: If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with Me. Simon Peter saith to Him: Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him: He that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean, but not all. For He knew who he was that would betray Him; therefore, He said: You are not all clean. Then after He had washed their feet and taken His garments, being sat down again, He said to them: Know you what I have done to you?
You call Me Master, and Lord; and you say well, for so I am. If then I, being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet; for I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also.
Why did Jesus wash His disciples’ feet? To show His humility and love, and to teach them how pure they should be in approaching the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Hence arose the pious custom that spiritual superiors and temporal rulers should on this day wash the feet of some of their subjects, usually of twelve poor persons, and afterwards serve them at table, or at least make them presents.
Why is it that only one priest in each church says Mass to-day, while the rest go to communion; and why is the Blessed Sacrament carried to the repository? To imitate the example of Jesus Christ, Who on this day gave to His apostles His flesh to eat and His blood to drink. In like manner, all should to-day receive communion from one. The priests appear to-day in their stoles, the emblem of the spiritual dignity and power which were on this day given to the apostles, and through them to their successors. The removal of the Most Holy Sacrament to the repository signifies Jesus’s going to Mount Olivet, where His Godhead concealed itself.
Why is it that the bells are not rung until Saturday, but pieces of wood used instead; and why are the altars denuded? So that the Church may express her deep grief for the sufferings and death of Jesus, and remind us to mourn in silence, and in a spiritual manner to die to the world and to self; she also further indicates thereby the silence of the apostles, who out of fear at this time were dumb. The removal of decorations from the altars signifies how Jesus, through His passion, lost His form and beauty, and was stripped of His garments, on which account the twenty-first psalm, in which all this is pre dicted, is said while the altars are denuded. It is also a call to sorrow and penance.
Read: The summit of the liturgical year, the Easter Triduum, begins this evening and continues into the evening of Easter Sunday. While chronologically three days, they are liturgically one day, unfolding for us the unity of Christ’s Paschal Mystery.
Reflect: “To encounter the living God it is necessary to tenderly kiss Jesus’ wounds in our hungry, poor, sick and incarcerated brothers and sisters.” (Pope Francis, Homily for the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle)
Pray: Spend time with this Catholic Relief Services prayer: Remain Here and Keep Watch With Me.. . .
Act: Sunset today marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Triduum – the 3 most solemn days of the liturgical year. Begin the Triduum by attending Mass this evening.
Holy Thursday is also known as Maundy Thursday and is a celebration of the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood. There were originally three separate Masses for Maundy Thursday. The first, no longer in use, is the Mass of Remission, whereby the public penitents who had been doing special penance during Lent were received back into the Church. The second is the Chrism Mass, when the bishop blesses the holy oils to be used for the year. The third is the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper, in which the Church celebrates the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood. The special ceremonies for this exultant Mass (the Gloria returns and white vestments are used) include the priest's washing the feet of twelve men, the removal of the Eucharist to the Altar of Repose, and the stripping of the altars. After the Blessed Sacrament is "laid to rest" in a special tabernacle on the Altar of Repose, it is customary for the church to stay open all night and for private devotion to take place. A variation of this custom is to visit seven such shrines during the night in imitation of the Sette Chiese of the Roman Stations (see Stations). This custom was quite popular in American cities like Boston until the late 1960s. Start a new tradition and visit churches in your area on this Holy Night spending 15 minutes in prayer on each visit.
"Clean" Thursday Customs
Because it was the day that penitents and catechumens were cleansed of their sins (and allowed to bathe again), Maundy Thursday is known in some parts of the world as "Clean" Thursday. The idea of cleanliness also extended to the rest of the faithful. In a time when bathing did not happen every day, Clean Thursday became the occasion for thoroughly cleansing the body in preparation for Easter. There is also a charming legend that after the bells are rung for the Gloria during the Mass of the Last Supper, "they fly to Rome" where -- depending on who is telling the story -- they either are blessed by the Pope and sleep on the roof of St. Peter's Holy Saturday night, or are given Easter eggs to return with them on Sunday morning.
The Altar of Repose
When the Eucharist is processed to the altar of repose after the Mass of the Lord's Supper, we should remain in quiet prayer and adoration, keeping Christ company.
Popular piety is particularly sensitive to the adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament in the wake of the Mass of the Lord's supper. Because of a long historical process, whose origins are not entirely clear, the place of repose has traditionally been referred to as "a holy sepulchre". The faithful go there to venerate Jesus who was placed in a tomb following the crucifixion and in which he remained for some forty hours.
It is necessary to instruct the faithful on the meaning of the reposition it is an austere solemn conservation of the Body of Christ for the community of the faithful which takes part in the liturgy of Good Friday and for the viaticum of the infirmed. It is an invitation to silent and prolonged adoration of the wondrous sacrament instituted by Jesus on this day.
In reference to the altar of repose, therefore, the term "sepulchre" should be avoided, and its decoration should not have any suggestion of a tomb. The tabernacle on this altar should not be in the form of a tomb or funerary urn. The Blessed Sacrament should be conserved in a closed tabernacle and should not be exposed in a monstrance. After midnight on Holy Thursday, the adoration should conclude without solemnity, since the day of the Lord's Passion has already begun.
A Holy Thursday tradition: Pilgrimage to seven churches
· Holy Thursday is the feast that marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Holy Triduum, which also includes Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. At this Mass of the Lord’s Supper Catholics remember the Passover meal, when Jesus instituted the sacrament of the holy Eucharist by sharing bread and wine with his disciples, saying, “Do this in memory of Me.” “The faithful are invited to continue adoration before the Blessed Sacrament for a suitable length of time during the night, according to circumstance.”
· The Seven Churches Visitation is a tradition that grew out of this time of prayer and adoration. Catholics remember when Jesus asked his disciples to stay and watch with Him while they were in the garden. This tradition of mindful watching is a sort of pilgrimage to various altars of repose, in different churches that correspond to each of the seven places, or “stations,” that were made by Jesus between the Last Supper in the Upper Room to His crucifixion on the cross.
· The seven stations consist of: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22: 39-46), Jesus bound and taken before Annas (John 18: 19-22), Jesus taken before the High Priest, Caiaphas (Matthew 26: 63-65), Jesus taken before Pilate (John 18, 35-37), Jesus taken before Herod (Luke 23: 8-9; 11), Jesus taken before Pilate again (Matthew 27: 22-26) and Jesus given the crown of thorns and led to his crucifixion (Matthew 27: 27-31).
· Upon entering each church, pilgrims visit the altar of repose, kneel, make the sign of the cross, read the appropriate scripture for each station and engage in private prayer and adoration. Some may add other prayers as well. At the seventh station, many will close their pilgrimage by opting to observe a Holy Hour.
· The origin of the Seven Churches Visitation is typically credited to St. Philip Neri and is practiced by Catholics around the world, including in Poland, Mexico, Italy and the Philippines. The devotion can also be traced back to the Station Churches of Rome, where the tradition is still practiced. More information is also available in George Weigel’s book “Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches.”
· Some will argue that the Holy Thursday pilgrimage has roots in the Book of Revelation, in which the Seven Ancient Churches are visited by an angel. For those who live in an urban area with several Catholic churches nearby, they may want to visit seven different churches. However, those who live in a rural area can still take part in the tradition by praying all seven stations. For participating families with young ones, adaptations can be made for the sake of time and parish availability. Pilgrims may choose to say prayers for two stations at one location.
· The Seven Churches Visitation is a powerful way to spend time in adoration, meditating on Christ’s sacrifice of love for the salvation of souls in preparation for the joy of Easter. There is something special about visiting churches late into the nigh. It is not just because of the opportunity to visit other parishes, it’s because of intentionally seeking Christ to spend time with Him and contemplating the gift of His love.
Holy Thursday Top Events and Things to Do
· Take a close look online of Michelangelo's The Last Supper. Notice what each of the disciples is doing, and how Jesus is portrayed.
· Attend a Holy Thursday service. Some denominations, such as Roman Catholicism, require you to be a member to be given communion, but many Protestant Churches do not.
· Participate in a foot-washing service. This puts many people outside of their comfort zone. Washing someone else's feet is an intimate act, but it was the lowliest act that a slave in Israel performed. It demonstrates ability to love and serve others.
· Watch The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) with Max von Sydow as Jesus. Pay attention to the Last Supper scene.
Eighteen Questions on the Paschal Triduum
The following eighteen questions address the most commonly received questions concerning the Sacred Paschal Triduum, and may be freely reproduced by diocesan Offices for Worship, parish Liturgy Committees, and others seeking to promote the effective celebration of these most sacred days.
1. When does the Triduum begin and end? The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday.
2. May another Mass besides the Mass of the Lord’s Supper be celebrated on Holy Thursday? Ordinarily, no other Mass may be celebrated on Holy Thursday. However, by way of exception, the local Ordinary may permit another Mass in churches and oratories to be celebrated in the evening, and, in the case of genuine necessity, even in the morning. Such Masses are provided for those who in no way are able to participate in the evening Mass.
3. How are the Holy Oils, consecrated and blessed at the Chrism Mass, to be received in the parish? A reception of the oils may take place before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The oils, in suitable vessels, can be carried in procession by members of the assembly. Go to the Order for the Reception of the Holy Oils page for more information.
4. Is the Mandatum, the washing of feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, required? No. The Roman Missal only indicates, “After the Homily, where a pastoral reason suggests it [ubi ratio pastoralis id suadeat], the Washing of Feet follows.”
5. When should the Good Friday Celebration of the Lord’s Passion take place? Normally it should take place in the afternoon, at about 3:00 PM, to enable people to assemble more easily. However, pastoral discretion may indicate a time shortly after midday, or in the late evening, though never later than 9:00 PM. Depending on the size or nature of a parish or other community, the local Ordinary may permit the service to be repeated.
6. May a deacon officiate at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion? Although the Celebration of the Lord's Passion appears to be a service of the Word with the distribution of Holy Communion, the Roman Missal does not permit a deacon to officiate at the celebration. Historically, even though the Eucharist is not celebrated on this day, the liturgy of Good Friday bears resemblance to a Mass. At one time it was called the “Mass of the Presanctified” (referring to the pre-consecrated hosts used at Communion, even when only the priest received Communion). This is also reflected in the prescribed vesture for the priest: stole and chasuble. The liturgy of Good Friday, as an integral part of the Triduum, is linked to the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. While there may be cases where a parish with multiple churches or chapels (e.g., mission churches or a cluster of parishes under one pastor) might rotate the liturgies among the various locations, it would not be appropriate for a community to celebrate only part of the Triduum.
7. May any of the readings at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion be omitted? The Lectionary for Mass does not indicate that any readings may be omitted at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. All three readings (Isaiah, Hebrews, and the Passion according to John) are required. It should be noted, however, for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, the Lectionary indicates that while all three readings provided should be used, there may be circumstances in which one or more of the readings at Mass could be omitted: “Given, however, the importance of the account of the Lord’s Passion, the priest, having in mind the character of each individual congregation, is authorized to choose only one of the two readings prescribed before the Gospel, or if necessary, he may read only the account of the Passion, even in the shorter form. This permission applies, however, only to Masses celebrated with a congregation.” Thus, the account of the Passion is never omitted.
8. Does the Church encourage any other liturgical celebrations on Good Friday? On this day the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer could appropriately be celebrated with the participation of the people in the churches. Note that Evening Prayer is only prayed by those who do not participate in the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.
9. Do devotions have a particular importance on Good Friday? The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2002) provides the proper perspective in paragraphs 142-145. Clearly the central celebration of this day is the Good Friday Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. In no way should manifestations of popular piety, either by the time or manner in which they are convoked, substitute for this solemn liturgical action. Nor should aspects of the various acts of piety be mixed with the Good Friday celebration, creating a hybrid. In recent times, Passion processions, celebrations of the Stations of the Cross, and Passion Plays have become more common. In such representations, actors and spectators can be involved in a moment of faith and genuine piety. Care should be taken, however, to point out to the faithful that a Passion Play is a representation which is commemorative and they are very different from “liturgical actions” which are anamnesis, or the mysterious presence of the redemptive event of the Passion.
10. How does the Adoration of the Holy Cross on Good Friday begin? The Adoration of the Holy Cross begins with one of two forms of the Showing of the Holy Cross. The First Form begins as the deacon or another suitable minister goes to the sacristy and obtains the veiled Cross. Accompanied by two ministers with lighted candles, the veiled Cross is brought to the center of the sanctuary in procession. The priest accepts the Cross and then, standing in front of the altar and facing the people, uncovers the upper part of the Cross, the right arm, and then the entire Cross. Each time he unveils a part of the Cross, he sings the acclamation, Behold the wood of the Cross. In the Second Form of the Showing of the Holy Cross, the priest or deacon goes to the church door, where he takes up the uncovered Cross. Accompanied by two ministers with lighted candles, he processes to the sanctuary, stopping at the door of the church, in the middle of the church, and before entering the sanctuary, to sing the acclamation, Behold the wood of the Cross.
11. How is the cross venerated by members of the congregation on Good Friday? After the showing of the Cross, the priest or deacon may carry the Cross to the entrance of the sanctuary or another suitable place. The first person to adore the Cross is the priest celebrant. If circumstances suggest, he takes off his chasuble and his shoes. The clergy lay ministers and the faithful then approach the Cross. The personal adoration of the Cross is an important feature in this celebration and every effort should be made to achieve it. The rubrics remind us that “only one Cross” should be used for adoration. If the numbers are so great that all cannot come forward, the priest, after some of the clergy and faithful have adored the Cross, can take it and stand in the center before the altar. In a few words he invites the people to adore the Cross. He then elevates the Cross higher for a brief period of time while the faithful adore it in silence. It should also be kept in mind that when a sufficiently large Cross is used even a large community can reverence it in due time. The foot of the Cross as well as the right and left arm can be approached and venerated. Coordination with ushers and planning the flow of people beforehand can allow for this part of the liturgy to be celebrated with decorum and devotion.
12. When should the Easter Vigil take place? The Vigil, by its very nature, must take place at night. It is not begun before nightfall and should end before daybreak on Easter Sunday. The celebration of the Easter Vigil takes the place of the Office of Readings of Easter Sunday. The Easter Vigil begins and ends in darkness. It is a nocturnal vigil, retaining its ancient character of vigilance and expectation, as the Christian people await the Resurrection of the Lord during the night. Fire is blessed and the paschal candle is lighted to illumine the night so that all may hear the Easter proclamation and listen to the word of God proclaimed in the Scriptures. For this reason, the Solemn Beginning of the Vigil (Lucernarium) takes place before the Liturgy of the Word. Since sunset varies at different locations throughout the country, local weather stations can be consulted as to the time of sunset in the area, keeping in mind that twilight concludes (i.e., nightfall occurs) somewhat later.
13. What considerations should be given for the paschal candle used at the Easter Vigil? This candle should be made of wax, never be artificial, be replaced each year, be only one in number, and be of sufficiently large size that it may convey the truth that Christ is the light of the world. The paschal candle is the symbol of the light of Christ, rising in glory, scattering the darkness of our hearts and minds. Above all, the paschal candle should be a genuine candle, the pre-eminent symbol of the light of Christ. Choice of size, design, and color should be made in relationship to the sanctuary in which it will be placed.
14. In the case of mission churches and cluster parishes, can multiple paschal candles be used for the Service of Light? The Roman Missal, not envisioning the pastoral situation of mission churches or cluster parishes, specifies that only one paschal candle is used. To accommodate the particular circumstances, the Secretariat of Divine Worship might suggest that the candles from the mission churches or other parish churches could be present at the Easter Vigil, having been prepared in advance, and blessed alongside the main candle (perhaps having deacons or other representatives holding them). In keeping with the rubrics, for the lighting and procession only one candle should be lit (the principal one, or the one which will remain in that particular church). As the other candles in the congregation are lit, the other paschal candles could be lit and held (but not high, in order to maintain the prominence of the one principal candle) by someone at their place in the assembly. Once all the candles are extinguished after the singing of the Exsultet, the other paschal candles are put aside. On Easter Sunday morning, those candles could be taken to each of the missions and carried, lit, in the entrance procession at the first Mass at each church and put in place in the sanctuary.
15. How many readings should be proclaimed at the Easter Vigil? One of the unique aspects of the Easter Vigil is the recounting of the outstanding deeds of the history of salvation. These deeds are related in seven readings from the Old Testament chosen from the law and the prophets and two readings from the New Testament, namely from the Apostle Paul and from the Gospel. Thus, the Lord meets us once again on our journey and, “beginning with Moses and all the prophets” (Lk 24:27) opens up our minds and hearts, preparing us to share in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup. The faithful are encouraged to meditate on these readings by the singing of a responsorial psalm, followed by a silent pause, and then by the celebrant’s prayer. Meditation on these readings is so significant for this night that we are strongly urged to use all the readings whenever it can be done. Only in the case of grave pastoral circumstances can the number of readings be reduced. In such cases, at least three readings from the Old Testament should be read, always including Exodus 14.
16. How is the First Communion of the neophytes to be emphasized during the Easter Vigil? The celebrant, before he says, Behold the Lamb of God, may make a brief remark to the neophytes about their first Communion and about the importance of so great a mystery, which is the climax of initiation and the center of the Christian life. This is a night when all should be able to receive Holy Communion under both forms.
17. What directions are given for the celebration of Masses on Easter Sunday? Mass is to be celebrated on Easter Day with great solemnity. A full complement of ministers and the use of liturgical music should be evident in all celebrations. On Easter Sunday in the dioceses of the United States, the rite of the renewal of baptismal promises may take place after the homily, followed by the sprinkling with water blessed at the Vigil, during which the antiphon Vidi aquam, or some other song of baptismal character should be sung. (If the renewal of baptismal promises does not occur, then the Creed is said. The Roman Missal notes that the Apostles' Creed, "the baptismal Symbol of the Roman Church," might be appropriately used during Easter Time.) The holy water fonts at the entrance to the church should also be filled with the same water. On the subsequent Sundays of Easter, it is appropriate that the Rite for the Blessing and Sprinkling of Water take the place of the Penitential Act.
18. Where is the paschal candle placed during Easter Time? The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass, or at Morning and Evening Prayer. After Easter Time the candle should be kept with honor in the baptistery, so that in the celebration of Baptism the candles of the baptized may be lit from it. In the celebration of funerals, the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate Christ’s undying presence, his victory over sin and death, and the promise of sharing in Christ’s victory by virtue of being part of the Body of Christ (see Order of Christian Funerals, no. 35). The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside Easter Time.
Timeline of Holy Week
· Holy Thursday, Thursday Night, Early Friday Morning: • The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and preparation for the Passover for Jesus and the disciples. (Mt 26:17-19; Mk 14:12-16; Lk 22:7-13; Jn 19:14) •
· The Last Supper (Mt 26:20-25; Mk 14:17-21; Lk 22:14, 21-23; Jn 13 “before the Feast of Passover”) •
· Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane; the betrayal of Judas and the arrest of Jesus.
· Jesus taken to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest. Annas sends Jesus to Caiaphas (Jn 18:12-25) •
· Jesus taken to the high priest Caiaphas’ home where the scribes, elders, and the chief priests had gathered. (Mt 26:57-75; Mk 14:53-72; Lk 22:54-71) •
· Peter denies Jesus three times. •
· Jesus was kept overnight in a cistern below Caiaphas’ home.
Holy Week takes a somber turn on Thursday. From Bethany, Jesus sent Peter and John ahead to the Upper Room in Jerusalem to make the preparations for the Passover Feast. That evening after sunset, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as they prepared to share in the Passover. By performing this humble act of service, Jesus demonstrated by example how believers are to love one another. Today, many churches practice foot-washing ceremonies as a part of their Maundy Thursday services. Then Jesus shared the feast of Passover with his disciples, saying:
“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it [again] until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
As the Lamb of God, Jesus was about to fulfill the meaning of Passover by giving his body to be broken and his blood to be shed in sacrifice, freeing us from sin and death. During this Last Supper, Jesus established the Lord's Supper, or Communion, instructing his followers to continually remember his sacrifice by sharing in the elements of bread and wine (Luke 22:19-20). Later, Jesus and the disciples left the Upper Room and went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed in agony to God the Father. Luke's Gospel says that "his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." Late that evening in Gethsemane, Jesus was betrayed with a kiss by Judas Iscariot and arrested by the Sanhedrin. He was taken to the home of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where the whole council had gathered to begin making their case against Jesus. Meanwhile, in the early morning hours, as Jesus' trial was getting underway, Peter denied knowing his Master three times before the rooster crowed.
The Mass was the center of life for the disciples of Jesus, and so it has ever been. The first Christians were Jews, living in a Jewish culture, steeped in Jewish forms of worship. The liturgy of the new covenant had been foreshadowed in the rituals of the old. The Mass is explicitly connected with the Passover meal. There are also parallels between the thank-offering or todah and the Mass.
A todah sacrifice would be offered by someone whose life had been delivered from great peril, such as disease or the sword. The redeemed person would show his gratitude to God by gathering his closest friends and family for a todah sacrificial meal. The lamb would be sacrificed in the Temple and the bread for the meal would be consecrated the moment the lamb was sacrificed. The bread and meat, along with wine, would constitute the elements of the sacred todah meal, which would be accompanied by prayers and songs of thanksgiving, such as Psalm 116.
The Talmud records the ancient rabbis’ teaching that, when the Messiah has come, “All sacrifices will cease except the todah.” In fact, Greek scriptures rendered the word todah as eucharistia, the word from which we get “Eucharist.”
Tonight, if possible, visit Him in the Bless Sacrament chapel between 9 P.M. and midnight for it was on Holy Thursday between these hours that our Lord was in so much agony over us that He sweat blood and he was most alone. Spend time with Him.
· Manhood of Christ Day 2, Seventh Week.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
 Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 4. The Mass.