This year our Mass of the Last Supper coincides with the Jewish celebration of Passover. We heard about that in the first reading: the sacred meal in which they remembered how God rescued them of slavery in Egypt and brought them through the desert to the Promised Land. Jesus ate his final supper in the context of the Passover and as we heard in Paul's letter, he took bread, blessed and broke it saying, "This is my Body that is for you." Likewise he lifted the cup saying, "this is new covenant in my blood."
Our Mass tonight has several distinctive elements: the reception of the holy oils, the singing of the Gloria with the sound of bells and the single collection for the poor of our parish. On this night, we wash the feet of twelve men, remembering Jesus' humility in becoming man and suffering for us. At the conclusion of the Mass we will transfer the Blessed Sacrament to the side altar. This emphasizes Christ's continued presence in the Eucharist.
I would like to tell you about a man who built his life around the Eucharist. He was part of the group beatified last November under Pope Benedict XVI.* I found out about him because his nephew is in our parish. The newly beatified is Blessed Luis Magana Servin and his nephew is our parish deacon, Abel Magana.
A few months ago Deacon Abel gave me a holy card with a picture of Blessed Luis. I was struck by his face, especially his eyes. He had the appearance of someone who could captivate just by looking at you. When I started to read about his life, I discovered that when Luis was a child, a painter came to his town to do a portrait of the Blessed Virgin with the Christ child. Noticing Luis' lovely eyes, he used him as a model. That painting of the Virgin Mary with the child Jesus still hangs in the parish church of Arandas, Mexico.
As a teenager Luis joined the Association of Catholic Mexican Youth, an organization dedicated to living Christ's social and religious teachings. He also helped organize all night adoration in the parish. You might think such a young man would become a priest, but he realized that his vocation was marriage. He fell in love with a beautiful girl named Elvira Camarena Mendez. They had two children, the second born after Luis died. I will tell you about his death tomorrow. Tonight I want to emphasize his devotion to Christ in the Eucharist - and in the Sacrament of Matrimony.
When we worship Christ in the Mass we are not alone. We join the Church thoughout the world. Some of you listened to the Holy Father's Mass on Sacred Heart Radio or EWTN. We are joined with those in Rome and in every church in the world. But there is something more. When we celebrate Mass, we unite ourselves to the angels and saints in worshiping Jesus. Like us they are guests at the Lord's banquet. I would like to make a special invitation to some of the saints, asking you to respond, "Pray for us."
St. Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us.
St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family, Pray for us.
St. John, beloved disciple, Pray for us.
Blessed Luis Magana, Pray for us.
*The beatification took place on November 20, 2005, in the Jalisco Sports Center in Guadalajara, during a Mass presided by Cardinal Saraiva Martins
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