Catholic faithful were reminded that sometimes they must take the risk of giving God their all – soul, mind and heart – and allow God to transform it, giving them a new heart that they could love Him more, during Holy Monday Mass celebrated by Father David Cooper, pastor at Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church.
Cooper told parishioners that as Holy Week passes along, that Christian people should feel the momentum building toward today and the reenactment of the Lord’s Last Supper which Jesus shared with his apostles on the night he was betrayed and arrested.
“While this momentum builds, we still have time to right some more wrongs, to do some more good, to make some more resolutions that we would appreciate the upcoming days with complete humility, with open minds and hearts – and, yes, that we may seek the full benefits of the passion of the death of the resurrection of Jesus the Christ,” said Cooper.
Holy Thursday is one of the most beautiful liturgies of the entire liturgical year. During the Mass, the priest usually washes the feet of 12 men, just as Jesus did. Also, on the night, priests worldwide renew their sacred vows. This is because at the Last Supper, Jesus not only instituted the Mass (Eucharist) but also the ministerial priesthood.
Cooper said the Prophet Isaiah gave the prophecy of the new leader and Jesus, the new model of leadership who is grounded, humble, a man of the people, and someone who put their needs first. He told worshippers at Holy Monday service that Jesus does not do what He does for show. And that what He does is person to person, need to need, and does good by them.
“He overlooks no one,” said Cooper. “He does not trample on the vulnerable, but he mends the broken-hearted. He raises up the bowed down. He brings to life the deadness of our lives.”
Cooper said Yahweh God, in His prophecy, reminds people who would listen to Isaiah, that this is the way it ought to be to bring more souls to salvation. As such, Jesus now becomes the new covenant embodied.
“He becomes the word of God fulfilled. He becomes the mystery of God revealed.”
The priest said the sacrificial offering read about in the gospel by Mary could be interpreted in many ways, but that, since people of today were not there, they have to rely on scripture’s scholars to take them there.
“She was eternally grateful that Jesus brought back her brother. She was also grateful that Jesus frequented their home and they were able to offer him hospitality. When all seems lost, Jesus speaks with calm, conviction and power – your brother will live. His words took flight and brought Lazarus back from the dead. This anointing, the refragrance of aromatic man, was her way of saying to Jesus, ‘Yes, you raised my brother from the dead, and now you predict your own death. May this anointing keep you strong in the will of God.’”
Cooper said sometimes when people offer praise and prayer, or even other kinds of offerings to God, or the ministry of the church, they don’t understand why, and he said they don’t need to. But they ought not to be discouraged in doing said things.
“We come so close to suffering, to misfortune, and by some grace of God, some act of kindness – we miss it. That stirs us in a certain way that we have no other resolve than to believe it’s God. As we say nowadays: ‘Looka God! Won’t he do it?’ Yes, He can. Yes, He will. And so, in return, out of gratitude, we must make an offering – to God. Not to the man of God, not to the woman of God – to God. And that is done however you please.”
He said those moments of returning offering in response to God’s favor is what brings God closer to people, and people closer to God.
“While people may look on from the outside and say what a waste … more could have been done if we did it my way – don’t mind that chatter. This week will move us step by step closer into the mystery of our salvation where we will be able to sit at the table in reality, liturgically with Jesus, and feel the drama and the anxiety, and still feel the calm, because we know now that only good will come from his suffering, his death and his resurrection.”
Holy Week is a sacred time of the year. Christians commemorate and remember the last week of Jesus’ life on Earth. The greatest focus of the week is the Passion (suffering) and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the events that led up to it.