Holy Thursday

Engaging Faith | Fri, Apr 17, 2009

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Holy Thursday

April 9, 2009

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

John 13:1-15


April 7: World Health Day

April 8: Passover begins at sundown

April 9: Holy Thursday

April 10: Good Friday

April 11: Holy Saturday

April 12: 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.  

Today we celebrate the washing of feet.  Service 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.

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 with 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.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

Does the current economic crisis and recession cause you to in some way look at the Eucharist and the Washing of Feet in some new way?  How does in challenge the values that have gotten our economy in trouble?


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 33 years as a Christian voice for ending hunger.  Go to:   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.  Go to:

"Crazy Facts"
Bread for the World reports that: "An estimated 963 million people in the world go hungry. Each year, 3 million under-five children die because they are undernourished.  Far more children live with undernutrition than die from it. For infants and young children, the effects of chronic malnutrition in the early years of life are largely irreversible. In the United States, 11.7 million children live in households where people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet. That means one in ten households in the U.S. are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger."

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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