Lectionary Reflections: Holy Thursday [a] April 13, 2017

Engaging Faith | Thu, Apr 6, 2017

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Education for Justice

Holy Thursday

April 13, 2017


Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

John 13:1-15



April 10: Jewish Passover begins in the evening

April 13: Holy Thursday

April 14: Good Friday

April 15: Holy Saturday

April 16: Easter Sunday



Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison.

— Pope Francis, 19 March 2013

“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

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

The Bible teaches that every man and woman is created out of love and made in God’s image and likeness.

— Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 65


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 is embodied in 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, especially the poor. This is what Christ invites us to. This is what we desire.  This is what we work for. God calls us to be a living Eucharist. We are called to end all the divisions so that we can share at a “common table.”

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.”

To read the rest of this reflection from John Bucki, S.J., as well as his reflection questions, faith in action links, prayers of intercession, and prayer meditations, become a member of Education for Justice:

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