Holy Thursday, April 9, 2020

Duccio, The Last Supper

Holy Thursday – Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Lectionary: 39

In this diocese the Chrism Mass is said a week early. For that mass click HERE.

Reading 1EX 12:1-8, 11-14

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
“This month shall stand at the head of your calendar;
you shall reckon it the first month of the year.
Tell the whole community of Israel:
On the tenth of this month every one of your families
must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household.
If a family is too small for a whole lamb,
it shall join the nearest household in procuring one
and shall share in the lamb
in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it.
The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish.
You may take it from either the sheep or the goats.
You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month,
and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present,
it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight.
They shall take some of its blood
and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel
of every house in which they partake of the lamb.
That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh
with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

“This is how you are to eat it:
with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand,
you shall eat like those who are in flight.
It is the Passover of the LORD.
For on this same night I will go through Egypt,
striking down every firstborn of the land, both man and beast,
and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD!
But the blood will mark the houses where you are.
Seeing the blood, I will pass over you;
thus, when I strike the land of Egypt,
no destructive blow will come upon you.

“This day shall be a memorial feast for you,
which all your generations shall celebrate
with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 116:12-13, 15-16BC, 17-18.

R. (cf. 1 Cor 10:16)  Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
 in the presence of all his people.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.

Reading 21 COR 11:23-26

Giotto, The Last Supper

Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Verse Before The GospelJN 13:34

I give you a new commandment, says the Lord:
love one another as I have loved you.

GospelJN 13:1-15

Duccio, Jesus Washing the Feet of the Apostles

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
     for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’  and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

Duccio, back panel of the Maesta, the source of images used throughout this year’s Holy Week readings. The Maesta was created for the Siena Cathedral. This side of the altar piece would have faced the priests on the altar. Siena’s chief rival was the neighboring Italian City State of Florence which had the magnificent frescoes by Giotto, in the Arena Chapel. The city of Sienna commissioned her most respected artist, Duccio to paint the Maesta which would rival the Arena Chapel, providing the narative of the Passion. Click HERE for a lecture from the Khahn Academy on Duccio’s Maesta. Below is the other side of the Maesta, which would have faced the people.
Duccio, The Maesta, or Madonna Enthroned.
Frescoes such as those in the Arena Chapel, were not an option for the bold black and white marble interior of the Siena Cathedral. The Maesta would have been standing at the narthax with the image of the Madonna, the intercessor, facing the people, and the story of the passion on the back, facing the priests on the altar.
The Arena Chapel interior with the frescoes painted by Giotto. Both Giotto and Duccio were painters of the proto-renaissance period, introducing 3 dimensionality to the landscape and figures, giving the figures more mass, modeling of their drapery and hinting at the realism of the future renaissance.

Art historians often overly stress the importance of this perceived trend towards humanism in their insistence of seeing of a progression towards humanism, and fail to appreciate the exquisite beauty and integrity of these narrative paintings as they are. They were intended to teach a largely illiterate public and elevate their minds and souls. The progressive viewpoint of the enlightenment can interfere with appreciation of the profound theological meaning of these art works. In a sense they are appropriated, as in the term “proto-renaissance”, to serve the insistent concept of progression to the enlightenment. The artist didn’t know there was going to be a thing called the renaissance, and while they did innovate from the flat surfaces of icons and gothic art, they did it always primarily to serve theology and spiritual purposes. We invite you to use these paintings as they were intended – to lift your minds and souls up to God.

Sadly the Maesta was cut into sections and parts have been sold off when this period of art became popular.
Holy Thursday 2016
Ubi Caritas 2016
Holy Thursday 2016
Holy Thursday 2018