Holy Thursday

Engaging Faith | Wed, Mar 31, 2010

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

Holy Thursday

April 1, 2010 

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-141
Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-15 




March 29: Start of Passover at sunsetApril 1: Holy ThursdayApril 2: Good FridayApril 3: Holy SaturdayApril 4: Easter SundayApril 7: World Health Day  


“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. 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. 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 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?  How does it challenge us to reform and renewal? +++++ 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.  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 1.02 billion 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, over 49 million people—including 16.7 million children—live in households that struggle to put food on the table. That means one in seven 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…. 





Mystery-God 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!