Apr. 15, 2023 09:35 AM
The Altar of Repose for this year’s Maundy Thursday (Photo by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
April 7, 2023, the mass of the Lord’s Last Supper began as part of celebrating the Easter Triduum in the Universal Catholic Church. Rev. Fr. Rufino Sescon, Jr., Rector and Parish Priest of the Quiapo Church, presided over the solemn mass, together with the rest of the clergy, namely, Rev. Fr. Jonathan Noel Mojica, the gospel reader, Rev. Fr. Hans Magdurulang, Rev. Fr. Robert Arellano, LRMS, Rev. Fr. Earl Allyson Valdez, Rev. Fr. Paul Gungon, the Assistant Director, The Nazarene Catholic School, and Rev. Fr. Paul Edison Medina, OCarm. The celebration lasted two hours, beginning at 5:00 p.m. and ending at 7:00 p.m.
The twelve apostles were represented by volunteers from various ministries and organizations in the Quiapo Church who have been blessed to experience being part of the solemn rites of washing and kissing of the feet by none other than the rector and parish priest, Fr. Sescon, Jr.
The Washing of the Feet of the 12 disciples by Rev. Fr. Rufino C. Sescon Jr, Rector & Parish Priest, in reenactment of the washing of the feet of the 12 disciples of Jesus during the Last Supper (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
The washing of the feet is a touching part of the solemn rites commemorating what Jesus did during the last supper. Fr. Sescon, Jr. mentioned in his sermon that there are two different stories in the gospels regarding what truly happened at the last supper.
The three evangelists, Sts. Matthew, Mark, and Luke describe in their gospel accounts the last supper, focusing more on the offering and partaking of the bread and wine by Jesus to his disciples. On the other hand, St. John the Evangelist focused more on the washing of the feet. These two symbolisms for Fr. Sescon, Jr., give a clear message to Christians that the holy mass can never be separated from doing good, especially to the poor and needy. On this very occasion, Jesus also instituted two important ritual sacraments: 1) the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and 2) the Sacrament of Ordination.
In addition, Fr. Sescon, Jr. mentioned that the “taking off the clothes” of Jesus becomes very symbolic that connects His experience in the last supper and the crucifixion. Before Jesus’ clothes were taken off during His crucifixion, He already did it by himself during the last supper, right before he washed the very feet of His disciples, based on the gospel account of St. John the Evangelist. Hence, the Last Supper is already included in the new version of the Fourteen Stations of the Cross.
Consequently, the “taking off the clothes” of Jesus also invites Christians, to also take off the clothes of pride and everything that covers up sins and wickedness before Him. As Fr. Sescon, Jr. challenges everyone:
Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. delivers his homily to the community of faithfuls (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
“Bago ka pa maglingkod, bago ka pa mag alay, inaanyayahan tayo ni Hesus Nazareno na maghubad muna. Ang paghubad ay ang pagtanggal ng anumang tinatakip sa buhay natin. Magaling tayo magtakip, takipan nga tayo eh. Nagmamaang-maangan nga tayo. Marami tayong tinatago. Marami tayong ibang dahilan, Kaya nga ipinakita sa atin ni Hesus Nazareno bago ka pa mag alay, bago ka pa maglingkod, maghubad ka muna. Magpakumbaba ka muna. Magpakadalisay ka muna.“(“Before you serve, before you offer, Jesus invites us to take off our clothes. Taking off the clothes is to take out everything that covers our lives. We are good in covering up each other, pretending of not being aware what’s going on. We hide many things. We have many alibies. Thus, Jesus the Nazarene showed us that before we offer, before we serve, take off your clothes first. Be humble. Be pure.”)
Altar servers kneeling in front of the re-presentation of the Last Supper (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
In this way, every Christian may be able to receive Jesus in the holy communion with a pure heart and spirit to give life to others like Jesus himself, especially to those who are lost, least, and last in society.
Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. carries the consecrated host to the Altar of Repose via solemn procession (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
Approximately one thousand seven hundred churchgoers were recorded in attendance during the mass celebration. Right after the communion rite, the Blessed Sacrament was brought to a procession for it to be transferred toward the altar of the repose, which officially marks the beginning of the Visita Iglesia at the Quiapo Church. More people started to flock to Quiapo Church right after the mass for the traditional Visita Iglesia. Meanwhile, the chosen volunteers representing the twelve apostles were invited to supper at the Clausura at the Quiapo Church with Fr. Sescon, Jr.
– Alfrein O. Quirionez | EIAM & ADRM