Holy Thursday, April 14, 2022
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” – Corinthians 11:26
These last Forty Days were a time of preparation, preparation for the Great Three days, the Sacred Triduum. These three days lead us to an empty tomb and the Resurrection, which are then followed by the Easter Season, the fifty days leading to Pentecost.
Today is the last official day of Lent. Tomorrow we enter into the Easter Triduum – Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday – the Pasion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord. Tonight, Holy Thursday, we commemorate the Last Supper, where Jesus establishes the sacrament of Holy Communion.
In today’s readings, we spam many thousands of years, rediscovering the first Passover, the moment when the Lord told the people gathered that this day, “shall be a memorial feast for you” (Exodus 12:14) and this became a great reason to gather, pray, and remember.
Jesus gathered his disciples for what he knew would his last meal with them. Their super was not a Seder, however; it was held on the Thursday before Passover had begun and did not have the symbolic foods associated with a Seder. Instead, Jesus focused his attention on the bread and wine, saying “This is my body” and “this is my blood” (Corinthians 11:24)
From that day forward, whenever the apostles gathered in Jesus’ name, the bread and wine would remind them of him. It became for us, his body and blood, our Eucharist. Today, our hearts brace for the recounting of the agony that Jesus endured on Good Friday.
Jesus had another purpose for gathering his closest friends the day before his death on the cross. He wanted to model and share with them the importance of serving and loving one another. He prepared to wash their feet like a servant. Peter wanted no part of this, but Jesus was adamant. Through this action, Jesus taught us an important lesson, as he, Jesus, the Lord, Our God, humbled himself to serve all of us. We, like the disciples, are commanded to hear God’s words, participate in the Eucharist, and go forth to serve and love one another.
Image: Jesus Washing the Feet of his Disciples (Oil on Canvas), by Albert Edelfelt