Go to mass tonight if you can. You will be blessed.
If you’re sick or you have to work or for some other reason you cannot go, try to take a moment to think on Jesus. You may be so busy or in such a problem that finding time for worship or contemplation of any sort is difficult. On the other hand, you may be flat on your back with nothing but time, dripping slowly by.
Here are 5 ways you can do Holy Thursday if you are shut in from illness or shut out because of other imperatives.
For those with time, pray the Rosary. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. If you are sick, offer up your pains for conversions.
If you are pushing through a day with no rest stops, pray the Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Or, pray a Hail Mary.
Or, just stop for a moment and think about Gethsemane and say “Thank you Jesus.”
If you are in your own, personal, Gethsemane today, ponder what He faced there and remember that God understands what you are going through. He knows with the knowing of having been there Himself.
2. Read the Bible. Read the transfiguration (Mark, chapter 9) or the Last Supper (Mark 14) or the story of Gethsemane (Mark 14.) Read Psalm 22.
Better yet, read them all.
When you read, ponder for a moment the power of this story. I could write many thousands of words discussing these Scripture readings and never touch their full meaning. This is the promise of our redemption, the New Covenant which fulfills that of the Old Testament, and the all-too-human suffering of abandonment and The Alone.
Read it and pray over it. Put yourself there, in the disciples’ sandals, with Jesus as He prayed to let this cup pass from Him. Let God show you the understanding of it that you need for today.
3. Watch something edifying on tv. So much of what we see in the media at this time of year is a thinly-disguised attack on the faith through bogus scholarship presented as an “investigation” into the “real Jesus” or “what really happened.”
The simple fact is that these are deconstructions of Scripture based on little more than the fantasies of the “scholars” who put them forward. Most of the time, if you backcheck these “experts” you will find that they are people with an agenda, usually having to do with their dislike of the Church’s stand on things such as gay marriage and abortion.
They are attacking Christianity because Christianity poses a barrier to the universal acceptance of their viewpoints. However, they are not doing this in a forthright and honest way. They are using phony “scholarship” and an anti-Christian media to unfairly and inaccurately bash Christianity in hopes of weakening its ability to oppose them in the marketplace of ideas.
I had all but given up on tv.
Then, I found some edifying videos on Amazon Prime; lives of the saints, Church history, inspiring stories of faithful Christian witness. I suggest you seek them out and watch them. I’ve looked for similar things on Netflix and couldn’t find them. If you find good ones in other venues, please share them here.
4. Sing or play music. I’ve been under the weather for the past three weeks, and I haven’t felt up to playing my piano. That’s a huge deprivation for me. I’m going to change that today, at least for a while, and tap out a hymn or two. I have lots of Christian music of all genres on my iPhone. I play that and sing along in my rusty voice.
Music is worship with wings, especially, playing the piano. If you pick the guitar or bow the fiddle or pound the ivories, make a joyful noise to the Lord. If you don’t play an instrument, or don’t have access to one, sing a hymn, and if all else fails, just listen to Christian music for a while in your car or at your house.
5. Talk about Jesus with your Christian friends. I don’t mean making a speech or trying to convert someone. I mean just talking about the events of this week 2,000 years ago with a fellow Christian.
Don’t try to be profound. Just fellowship by talking about Our Lord with another Christian.
I know there are many other ways to “do” Holy Thursday if you can’t get to mass. I also know that even if you do go to mass, these are also important things to do.
A Christian can never engage in too much prayer, Scripture, and private worship in the guise of watching good Christian entertainment, making a joyful noise unto the Lord and talking about Him with other people who love Him.
Build yourself up in Christ today, step by step, brick by brick.
This is Holy Thursday. No matter your circumstance, you can find a moment and a means to love Him today. It will be your blessing if you do.