Maundy Thursday

REcollect - Holy Week Virtual Celebrations

Objective: Today as a Church we remember the day Jesus gathered his friends and shared one last meal. What an eventful evening! Through the celebration of the Eucharist, it continues to mark and define the Christian life. At the moment we are being asked not to celebrate together as a community these celebrations, yet we, as a family and household still share the meal together, even if we fail to recognise and appreciate its power.


Today we will reflect upon a distinctive quality of family life which is learned in the very first years of life: conviviality, in other words, the attitude of sharing life’s goods and being happy to be able to do so. Sharing and knowing how to share is a precious virtue! Its symbol, its “icon”, is the family gathered around the dinner table. The sharing of meals — and thus, in addition to food, also of affection, of stories, of events — is a common experience. When there is a celebration, a birthday, an anniversary, we gather around the table. …

Conviviality is a sure barometer for measuring the health of relationships: if in a family something has gone amiss, or there is some hidden wound, it is immediately understood at the table. A family that hardly ever eats together, or that does not talk at table but watches television, or looks at a smartphone, is a “barely familial” family. When children are engrossed with a computer or mobile phone at table, and do not talk to each other, this is not a family, it is like a boarding house.

Christianity has a special gift for conviviality, everyone knows this. The Lord Jesus gladly taught at the table, and sometimes portrayed the Kingdom of God as a festive banquet. Jesus also chose meal time to consign to his disciples his spiritual testament — he did so at supper — embodied in the memorial gesture of his Sacrifice: the gift of his Body and of his Blood as salvific Food and Drink, which nourish true and lasting love.

In this perspective, we can rightly say that the family is “at home” at Mass, precisely because it brings to the Eucharist its own experience of conviviality and opens it up to the grace of universal conviviality, to God’s love for the world. By partaking of the Eucharist, the family, purified of the temptation to close in on itself, is strengthened in love and fidelity and broadens the borders of its fraternity in accordance with the heart of Christ.

In our time, marked by so much closure and by too many walls, conviviality, created by the family and expanded by the Eucharist, becomes crucial. The Eucharist and the families it nourishes can overcome closure and build bridges of acceptance and charity. Yes, the Eucharist of a Church of families, capable of restoring to the community the effective leaven of conviviality and mutual hospitality, is a school of human inclusion that does not fear confrontation! There are no little ones, orphans, defenceless, wounded and disappointed, desperate and abandoned, whom the eucharistic conviviality of the family cannot nourish, refresh, protect and harbour.

(Pope Francis, Reflection on Family – Conviviality)


How can we as a family live better the moment of sharing meals?

What practical ways can help us to make this space more meaningful?

Act: Decide which meal of the day you will be all together, and prepare in a more beautiful manner to make this meal meaningful. Do your best to make it as beautiful as ever, even competing with the one of Christmas!

Start the meal celebration by saying a small prayer of thanksgiving for what the Lord blessed you with – even and and most especially with the providence received in the light of the current situation. You can also read the following text (Matthew 26: 17-30);

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”

Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.”

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.


When the meal is over, a meaningful act that you can do as a family is what Christ did to his friends, the apostles. He, even though he was their teacher, stood down and washed their feet as a sign of concrete love and service. Try to do it with each other, and in the process ask forgiveness and genuine desire of being more friendly and serving to each other.


Objective: Today typically in Malta we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Thousands, even those who are typically lukewarm in their faith, celebrate mass at their workplace, and others walk behind the statue of Our Lady. This celebration – strangely enough only celebrated here in Malta –  calls us to remember the pain that Our Lady endured as she walked faithfully and guided her Son, through it all even during His passion. Today, let us focus on the pain that others endure, much more than we think we do. Let us start by watching this short documentary:

Gospel Reading (John 19:25-27)

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.



Can you really continue to complain and nag about your current situation?

Act: We cannot do much about many situations, yet we can at least support those who do take care of us, and sustain us in every way possible. Write a letter, or take a video of yourself whilst you show and express your deep appreciation towards your own mother, or guardian. Be specific as much as possible, take your own time, you have plenty!

Share: Once ready you can share it with her.

Reflect: Read this dialogue between God and society (you can put your own name instead of society)

Society: What about my plans?!

God: My plans for you are always better than your own. Don’t worry. I’m going to work this all out for your own good.


Society: We’re not going to get anything done!

God: That’s the point. You know how you keep spinning your wheels—always working, moving, doing—but never feeling satisfied? I’ve given you permission to stop. I’ve cleared your calendars for you! Your worth isn’t tied to busyness or accomplishment. All you have to do is take care of each other.


Society: What does this all mean?

God: It means I’m in control. It means you are human and I am God. It means I’ve given you a wonderful opportunity to be the light in a dark world. It means you are going to learn to rely on me.


Society: What are we supposed to do when we can’t leave our homes?

God: Rest. You are always so busy and overwhelmed, crying out to me weary and exhausted. Can’t you use a break from your fast-paced and over-scheduled lives? Go ahead and rest. Pray. Love your families. Be still and spend time with me.


Society: You mean we’re supposed to stay home with your family only for the rest of this time?

God: Yes. And you’re going to be just fine. This time together is a rare gift. The rush of daily life has come to a halt. Play games. Bake cookies. Work on projects you’ve never had the time for. Teach them kindness and grace. Show them how to endure difficult circumstances and steer them toward me.


Society: We better start hoarding anything we can get our hands on!

God: Prevention, yes. Precaution, yes. Preparedness, yes. But after that, it’s time to put the needs of others before your own. When you see someone in need, help them. Offer up what you have. Do not worry about tomorrow! Haven’t I always taken care of you? Now, go take care of someone else.


Society: Why is this happening?

God: To remind you that I’m in control. To bring your attention back to me. I’m bringing you together as families and neighbours. I’m showing you patience and perseverance. I’m reminding you of your purpose and priorities. Now is the time to learn and teach your children what this life is really about.


Society: We don’t know who to believe.

God: Believe in me. Trust me. Ask me for wisdom and I will surely give it.

Society: We’re scared!

God: I’ve got this and I’m with you.