Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Why Is This Week Different From the Rest?

Ma Nishtana

Traditionally, during the Passover Seder, the youngest (capable) son asks, "Why is this day different from all the rest?"  Our tradition should be to ask, "Why is this week different from all the rest?"

In the Hebrew tradition, the reading of the Torah in preparation for Passover, the Ma Nishtana is one of 4 (or 3, depending on the tradition) questions asked by the youngest male child. It is a way of involving the children in the lessons/readings for this season - a great lesson we can all learn to help involve our children.

Four Questions

In light of the Hebrew Mishna tradition (Pesachim 10.4) we should have our youngest child ask four questions to reflect upon the events of Holy Thursday.
1) Why is this week different from all the rest?
2) Why does Jesus wash the feet of the Apostles?
3) What happens to the bread and wine?
4) Why is Jesus arrested on this night?

We are taken from the height of praise, singing "Hosanna in the highest!" to the lowest of lows when our Lord is betrayed by one He Himself selected. He is beaten, scourged, forced to carry His Cross, crucified, died and was buried. Oh the grief! Oh the pain! Oh the suffering! Oh that the week would end here!  But while that week ends with Jesus in the grave - the next week brings the Resurrection!

On Holy or Maundy Thursday, we celebrate the First Mass as Jesus Christ celebrated it nearly 2000 years ago on this day. Traditionally, after the sermon the priest in alter christos, washes the feet of twelve men, representing the Twelve Apostles. Then comes the Lord's Supper - the first celebration of the Eucharist. It is that SAME Sacrifice we celebrate today and at EVERY Mass. It is not a repeat of the first - it is that SAME Sacrifice - re-presented for us, just as Christ presented to the Apostles on the same night in which He was betrayed.

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