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Bishop William Crean’s Homily – Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Holy Thursday
4th April 2020
St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh
Celebrant Bishop William Crean

My friends,

Being at home continually as so many of us have been over these past weeks is a new experience for us.  We are still trying to get used to it.  Some of us are doing better than others.  All our lives are being pressed into our homes, school work, recreation, rest and meals.  And we are all different by way of temperament and age.  Some find it difficult to be still others are happy in their own company.  Some of us are calm and patient, others are restless and need activity and entertainment.  And all of this because we cannot go about as we wish because of a deadly virus that is in the community.

The tough part for all age groups is not being able to be with their friends, those whose friendship is precious and life giving.  Just about every group, choir, club wants to meet because of the deep bonds of connection we experience when we come together.  This is equally true of the Church community and the many groups within it.  When we gather as disciples of the Lord Jesus, we do so because of the deep bond of faith in Him that we share, and to be enriched and inspired.  “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them”.  When we gather in the name of the Lord Jesus, He is with us, He is among us.

My friends, we gather this evening in that spirit of faith to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

In doing so we both evoke the memory of the Last Supper and its meaning for us but also cherish this opportunity of this virtual gathering as graced with the presence of the Lord Jesus with us.

The gift and blessing of the Last Supper is a universal gift to all believers in Christ.  It is the dual invitation

“Do this in memory of me”
“As I have done, do you also”

One of the truly difficult and sad features of the restrictions to halt the spread of the virus has been the closure of Churches to people thereby preventing them from attending Mass either daily or weekly.  This restriction is in place for a good reason and while most accept it some are upset and angry.  Ironically, not having Mass has sharpened our sense of loss and absence of its grace and richness.

In terms of the life of the Church in our communities the other part of Jesus’ invitation – to wash the feet of others in need – has been taken up by so many with a vigour and generosity that is a marvel to behold and witness.  “By their deeds you shall know if they are my
disciples”.  Mass and Christian service go hand in hand.  When our time of prayer concludes we are sent forth “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord”.

My friends, for more than a quarter of a century this diocese has been greatly blessed with a core of people who have dedicated themselves to regular times of Eucharistic Adoration.  This ministry has not been possible for them through this time of restriction.  So for them this is a great void in their lives.  We remain indebted to them and no doubt they continue to keep our intentions before the Lord, in their prayer.

On this Holy Thursday we usually commission new Ministers of the Eucharist or recommission those engaged in the ministry.  That is not possible this evening but all who have been involved in that ministry across the Diocese we thank you and look forward to your resuming this ministry soon.

“Do this in memory of me” echoes across the centuries since the Last Supper of Jesus with the Apostles.  Wherever there are disciples of the Lord they have a deep desire to gather in prayer ‘round the table of Word and Eucharist – “to draw life giving water from the wells of salvation”.

Despite difficult times in our history we desired to do so.  Now in a new time of danger we have to refrain from gathering – yet with a deep desire to hear again in person “Do this in memory of me”.  “As long as you do it to the least of my sisters and brothers, you do it to me” (Mt. 25:40)

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