Holy Thursday

Engaging Faith | Mon, Apr 2, 2012

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Lectionary reflections for Holy Thursday 2012.

Holy Thursday

April 5, 2012


     Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
     1 Corinthians 11:23-26
     John 13:1-15


April 5: Holy Thursday
April 6: Good Friday
April 6; Passover begins at sundown
April 7: Holy Saturday
April 7: World Health Day
April 8: Easter Sunday


“The washing of the feet and the sacrament of the Eucharist: two expressions of one and the same mystery of love entrusted to the disciples, so that, Jesus says, "as I have done... so also must you do" (Jn 13: 15).”
-- John Paul II, Holy Thursday 2003

The Eucharist is a mode of being, which passes from Jesus into each Christian, through whose testimony it is meant to spread throughout society and culture.
-- John Paul II, Mane Nobiscum Domine

In the Eucharist our God has shown love in the extreme, overturning all those criteria of power which too often govern human relations and radically affirming the criterion of service: “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mc 9:35). It is not by chance that the Gospel of John contains no account of the institution of the Eucharist, but instead relates the “washing of feet” (cf. Jn 13:1-20): by bending down to wash the feet of his disciples, Jesus explains the meaning of the Eucharist unequivocally.
-- John Paul II, Mane Nobiscum Domine

We have a lot of work to do. Every time we reach out and assuage someone's hunger, and do that in memory of Jesus, a sense of Eucharist will bring to consciousness the Spirit and the real presence of Jesus - in us, through us, among us. That Spirit alone is capable of transforming the world and us.
-- Miriam Therese Winter, MMS

Thoughts for your consideration

Today we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist.  We are a community that shares bread with one another.  Sharing a meal defines who we are and who we want to become.  This solidarity is one of our core values and it defines our social teaching.   As we share the Eucharist we are called to create a world where resources are shared for the common good and all people are welcomed and respected.  This is what we desire.  This is what we work for.   Our life is to be a living Eucharist.  Putting our social teaching into practice makes the Eucharist a living reality.

Today we celebrate the washing of feet.  Our faith is about more than our own personal needs. Service of others and the common good is what being a follower of Jesus is about.  Jesus says: “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do." Service, especially to the poor and all those in need, is at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching.  As we focus on others, we focus on the values that are central to our social teaching. Our life is to be an ongoing “washing of feet.”

The interaction between Jesus and Peter reminds us of the mutuality of service that is essential to our social teaching.  Peter, along with all the other disciples, is told to go and do the same, but first he is also told that he has to have his own feet washed.  The Christian community is not a community of “domination over,” or a community where some have it and others do not, or a community divided by those in need and those not in need. We all need to serve and we all need to be served. In community we share our needs as well as our gifts with each other.  Without this attitude Catholic Social Teaching will be a shallow charity.  Without this attitude we will not be able to create a true community. Our life is to be one of mutual “right relationship.”

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

Does the economic recession of the last few years and the divisive political climate in our nation call you in some way to look at the Eucharist and the Washing of Feet in some new way?  How does it challenge the values that have gotten our economy in trouble?  How does it challenge us to reform and renewal? How does it challenge us to act in the political world?


Jesus’ washing of the feet is a powerful sacrament of service and love.
Share an experience of witnessing humble service.
How did it touch you? How were you challenged?

Actions – Links

As we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday, we recall the scandal of hunger in our world.  Bread for the World has worked for over thirty years as a Christian voice for ending hunger.     

The ONE Campaign is an effort supported by Bread for the World to rally Americans -- ONE by ONE -- to fight global AIDS and extreme poverty. 

“Crazy Facts”

“We live in the world's wealthiest nation. Yet 15.1 percent of people living in the United States live in poverty. More than one in five children live in households that struggle to put food on the table. That's 16.2 million children.”
“More than one in five children is at risk of hunger. Among African-Americans and Latinos, nearly one in three children is at risk of hunger.”

“The world is facing a hunger crisis unlike anything it has seen in more than 50 years. 925 million people are hungry. Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. That's one child every five seconds. There were 1.4 billion people in extreme poverty in 2005. The World Bank estimates that the spike in global food prices in 2008, followed by the global economic recession in 2009 and 2010 has pushed between 100-150 million people into poverty.”

Prayers of Intersession

Response: God, bring us together as one people.
For all those who do not have enough to eat this evening, we pray….
For all those who do not have a home this evening, we pray….
For all those who live in fear of war, terrorism, and violence, we pray….
For all those who need to be set free from political and economic oppression, we pray….
For all those called to service, especially to service of those most in need, we pray….
For our church, that we may be renewed in the spirit of Jesus, we pray….



Thanks for sight
    sight that comes in Jesus
        insight about ourselves and the world
            insight about the way of Jesus

                the way of compassionate love.

Thanks for life and all that nourishes life
    the food of bread and grain,
        fruits and vegetables,
            meat and fish,
                milk and all proteins
    air and water
        sun and breeze
            earth and sea
                space and mystery
    friend and companion
        stranger and refugee
            young and old
                the familiar and the new.

Thanks for the life of the spirit
    for prayer and meditation
        for silence and sound
            for sacrament and scripture
                for community and tradition
    for poverty and wealth
        for wisdom shared
            for conversation and silence
                for unity and diversity.

Thanks for all the challenges
    for the call
        to act for justice
            to serve others
                to live in peace
    for the feelings that teach us
        to know ourselves and others and you
            to be restless for what is right
                to speak out for what is good
                    to witness to what is of God.

Glory to you through all the ages! Amen!

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