Some thoughts on Holy Thursday to make your participation more fruitful:
- The central part of Holy Thursday is NOT the Washing of the Feet. In fact today it is omitted because of COVID-19.
2. The HEART of Holy Thursday is the Consecration, the Narrative of Jesus transforming/ “transubstantiating” bread and wine into His own Body and Blood – the institution of the Holy Eucharist.
3. The Holy Eucharist is NOT the action of the priest. It is the action of Jesus through the priest. It is Christ who offers the sacrifice of Himself to the Father.
4. At the Last Supper, the night before He died, Jesus ANTICIPATES His Passion, Death and Resurrection (the Paschal Mystery) in words and gestures (Sacrament).
5. The Holy Eucharist is the LIVING memorial of the Paschal Mystery, bringing that event of our salvation into our space and time. When we are at Mass, we are at the Last Supper.
6. The first three Gospels (the Synoptic Gospels) tell the Narrative. But John narrates the Washing of the Feet. This action of love and service is the practical consequence of the Holy Eucharist.
7. In John’s Gospel, when Judas leaves the Last Supper to betray Jesus, John says, “It was night.” This is a metaphor of the darkness of our own situation. It is night.
8. The institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper marked the beginning of a New Covenant between God and His people, and a New Passover, our passing over from sin to grace. The Holy Eucharist is truly awesome!
9. The Narrative of the Last Supper in 1 Cor. 11:23-26 is the earliest written narrative. St. Paul wrote it about 55-56 AD, while the earliest Gospel which is the Gospel of Mark was written between 65 to 70 AD.
10. It is good to read the four Narratives. Then select one for prayerful meditative reading. How have I participated in celebrating the Holy Eucharist?
(Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, is Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Cotabato. He is Mindanao’s lone Cardinal)