Archbishop Costelloe: God’s will for us lies in the Last Supper and in the Eucharist we celebrate
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB spoke about what it means to be a disciple of Christ, especially during this Holy Thursday, on 9 April at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Sourced.
By Amanda Murthy
This year’s Holy Thursday Mass, broadcast live from an empty St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday 9 April, provided Perth Catholics with the opportunity and time, now more than ever, to reflect on the question by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB: “What it is God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”.
“The bishops are convinced that the decision to convene the Council was made under the influence of the Holy Spirit,” Archbishop Costelloe said at the start of his homily.
“Perhaps, in God’s strange providence, with this postponing of the next Plenary Council phase, we are all being given the opportunity to reflect even more deeply than we have done so far on the fundamental question of the Council: what do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”
St Mary’s Cathedral Dean Sean Fernandez proclaimed the first and second readings for the day on 9 April. Photo: Sourced.
The 7pm Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Costelloe, concelebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton and Cathedral Dean Father Sean Fernandez. Besides the presiders, only one cantor and an organist were permitted to physically participate in the solemn celebration, given the current restrictions caused by COVID-19.
At the start of Mass, Archbishop Costelloe acknowledged the suffering experienced by the community, who have not been physically able to receive Holy Communion for the past few weeks.
“I am conscious of what a suffering it is for so many of you, not to be able to receive the Eucharist in Holy Communion, especially tonight of all nights.”
Archbishop Costelloe reflected on the Plenary Council question during his homily at the Holy Thursday Mass, on 9 April at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Sourced.
During his homily, Archbishop Costelloe stated that the best way to reflect on the Plenary Council question is to use the example of Jesus’ life and teachings, and relate that with what is currently happening in the world.
“The Second Vatican Council, that extraordinary moment of renewal in the life of the Church, puts it this way: The Church carries the responsibility of reading the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel [GS4],” he cited.
“All of this is what we really pray about whenever we pray the prayer the Lord taught us: ‘Thy kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven’.”
St Mary’s Cathedral chorister Dennis Nixon played the role of cantor alongside the Cathedral Director Jacintha Jakovcevic on 9 April. Photo: Sourced.
Archbishop Costelloe went on to explain that the answer to what the will of God is, for us today, can be found in the celebration of the Last Supper, and what follows it.
“The will of God lies in the Eucharist we celebrate every day in our Catholic tradition – we are disciples of Jesus,” Archbishop Costelloe affirmed.
“At the Last Supper, Jesus gave His first disciples some very clear instructions and every time we celebrate Mass, Jesus gives the same instructions to us.
Archbishop Costelloe and concelebrant Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton VG celebrated Mass on 9 April at St Mary’s Cathedral. The Mass was broadcasted live on the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth’s social media platforms. Photo: Sourced.
“At the heart of the Last Supper, and therefore at the heart of every Mass, the key instructions are these: take and eat, this is my body; take and drink, this is my blood; do this in memory of me,” he went on to say.
Noting that while Catholics are faithful to the words of Jesus during Mass, Archbishop Costelloe suggested that it can be easy to surpass the reason why Jesus left His memorial of His passion and death to His people.
“Of course it was so that we could be drawn deeply into communion with Him – we eat His flesh and drink His blood, as St John’s Gospel puts it so starkly, and we become one with Him,” Archbishop Costelloe stated.
At the Holy Thursday Mass on 9 April at St Mary’s Cathedral, Archbishop Costelloe encouraged the Perth Catholic community to use the example of Jesus’ life and teachings, and relate that with what is currently happening in the world. Photo: Sourced.
The Perth Archbishop concluded by remarking that when we consume the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood at every Mass, “We become one with Him so that, in and through us, He can enter into the lives of His people and continue to be the face of God for them”.
“We will, in other words, put others first instead of ourselves – because this is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and this is who we want to be.”