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Brother Stephen Bernard Wilke, CAA
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The Cross Stands Firm, While the World Revolves...
The Cross Stands Firm, While the World Revolves...

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Holy and Great Thursday

On this day, Holy and Great Thursday, according to the order which our Holy Fathers inherited from the Holy Apostles, and the Holy Gospels, we celebrate four events: the Holy Washing of the Disciples' feet, the Mystical Supper (the institution of the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist, which we celebrate to this day), the Lord's Agony in the Garden, and His Betrayal.

On the morrow, Friday, the Passover sacrifice of the Hebrews was intended to take place, namely the slaughter of the lamb reared for this purpose. On that same Friday, the Truth was intended to follow the old type. For it was intended that the true Passover would be sacrificed, the Lamb of God the Father, who takes away the sin of the world—our Lord Jesus Christ, who was prefigured by the paschal lamb which was sacrificed each year by the Hebrews. On the evening of this day - which was the day of unleavened bread, the eve of the Passover of the Old Law, March 22, the fifth day of the week—Jesus observed the Passover and dined in the city with the Twelve Disciples. The Lord did this on the evening of the fifth day (Thursday), since among the Hebrews the "night-day" reckoning begins with the evening of the present day and is called the evening of the following day. In other words, according to Jewish tradition "Friday evening" was that time period that began after sundown on Thursday. (For example: as in the Orthodox Church today, the "liturgical evening" of a feast day would be that time after Vespers.) Zebedee (the father of the Holy Apostles James and John) prepared the Passover, since he was the one who carried the earthenware jar of water, as St. Athanasius the Great says and others also say exceptional things about Zebedee.

Afterwards, Jesus revealed more perfect and sublime teaching to His Disciples, and when night fully came, in the Upper Room He handed over the Mystery of our Passover. Thus, it is said that He reclined at supper with the Twelve. Notice that this was not the Passover of the Old Law, because He both reclined and gave a supper of bread and drink. Under the Old Law, the Jews stood, with girded loins and walking staffs in hand during the meal. There all things crumbled away through Fire, including the use of unleavened bread. Before He began to eat (thus says the divine Chrysostom), He rose from supper, laid aside His garments, and poured water into a basin in preparation for the Washing of the feet. He did these things both to shame Judas and to remind the other Disciples that it is not right to seek the first place. Similarly, after the washing, He exhorted them by saying that he who wishes to be first must be last of all, showing Himself as an example. It seems that Christ first of all washed Judas, who most presumptuously sat first in line, and last He came to Peter. Since Peter was more high-spirited than the others, he prevented the Teacher, but when at the same time he heard from the Lord that if Christ did not wash his feet he would have no part with the Lord, he yielded quite readily.

So our Lord Jesus Christ washed the feet of the Disciples and showed a paradoxical exaltation through humility. He took His garments again and leaned back and exhorted and entreated them that they love one another and not seek the first place. While they were eating, He brought up the main point concerning His Betrayal. Since the Disciples were confused about His saying, Jesus said quietly to John alone, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it" (John 13:26). He spoke in this way because if Peter, being more high-spirited than the others, had known the truth, he would have taken it upon himself to strike a blow against Judas. Jesus said again, "He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me" (Matt. 26:23). When both these events had occurred, after a little silence He took the bread and said, "Take, eat; this is My Body" (Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22), and likewise the Cup, "Drink from it, all of you. For this is My Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26:27-28; Mark 14:24). "Do this in memory of Me" (Luke 22:19). He performed these deeds and ate and drank with them. Notice that He calls His Body bread - not unleavened bread. Sol let those who offer the unleavened sacrifice be ashamed. After Judas tasted the bread, Satan entered into him, because when he first tempted him he already ruled over him completely. Then he withdrew and proceeded to the High Priests, in order that he might hand Christ over to them for thirty pieces of silver.

After the Supper, the Lord went out with the Disciples to the Mount of Olives, to a certain place called Gethsemane. Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written, I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee" (Matt. 26:31-32; Mark 14:27).

Peter said to Him, "Even …
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My Corprate Industrial Construction Manager side is a very strong man who never showed weakness. My Daddy side of 3 girls had to be learned to be soft and it was always a challenge in life. Today that corp dad is gone and my girls and grandsons get all soft daddy and Gpa. 
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