This Holy Thursday, we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist as Jesus’ body and blood. It marks the end of Lent’s almsgiving, fasting, and prayer, and the beginning of the Easter Triduum, when we contemplate Jesus’ dying and rising for our sins and God’s plan of redemption for the world. The Reflection of the Holy Thursday readings is by Fleury NDUWAYO SJ.
Readings for Holy Thursday
- First Reading: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 116
- Second Reading:1 Corinthians 11:23-26
- Gospel: Matthew: John 13:1-15
In today’s readings, we are reminded that Jesus’s life is the source of our salvation and his life grounds our relationship with God and with each other.
In the first reading, we are reminded that we are people of the covenant and that Christ our Passover was sacrificed as a lamb for us to be free and live as children of God. Thus, when he shares the bread and wine with his disciples, as we see in the second reading, we are reminded that Jesus’ life is the source of our salvation. He instituted the holy communion that whoever eats his body and drinks his blood will have eternal life. With this mystery, Jesus wants to show us that even if we cannot touch him or share supper as he did with his disciples, he is present in the Eucharist. So, Jesus gives his disciples the commission and authority to celebrate Holy Communion, in the same way as He had done.
In the gospel, we see Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. Some of them are even refusing to be washed. It is a good moment that reminds us how in this last act of Jesus, he shows and demonstrates to his disciples how he is totally at their service. He humbles himself by kneeling to perform a menial task (an act that not any proud authority would accept to perform) of a slave. And why is he doing so? Jesus wants to prove to them the true meaning of authority.
Jesus wants to prove how power and authority are connected with service. And this is an appeal for us today to ask us some questions: With authority and power invested in us, how do we serve others? Do my power and authority allow me to be humble to serve my brothers and sisters, my community, and so forth? Let us ask that grace of love and humility to serve. This is what should characterize us as Christians and the people of the covenant.
By, Fleury NDUWAYO SJ,
Projects and Programs Coordinator, Service Yezu Mwiza (SYM), Bujumbura, Burundi.