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 Are we ready to welcome Jesus’ humble gesture and acknowledge his presence in the Eucharist?

First Readings: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 116:12-13, 15-16BC, 17-18; 

Second Reading:1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Gospel: John 13:1-15

This Holy Thursday Reflection is by 


Youth Delegate-Jesuit Province of Southern Africa,


Holy Thursday inaugurates the beginning of the Easter Triduum which celebrates the institution of the Eucharist and echoes the institution of the Holy Priesthood. This is the summit of the liturgical year in the life of the mother church, which commemorates Christ’s gift of his divine life and presence in the Eucharist, a pinnacle of our Christian life. 

In the Gospel reading for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper (John 13:1-15), we see many examples of how to live our lives, including Jesus doing something extraordinary to set an example for all of humanity. As his hour of humiliation draws near he reveals to his disciples the most profound gesture of humility which amplifies and confirms the love he has for them. He gazed at them, his eyes widely open, with love and bends to perform a humble task reserved for servants –washing smelly and dirty feet. As he bent down to perform the humble gesture to serve his disciples, Jesus was conscious of who would betray him and that his close friends, whom he journeyed with would abandon him through disloyalty. 

We are reminded that the humble gesture that Jesus performed and the supper he had with his disciples were not ordinary events. In the second reading 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, St. Paul reminds the people of Corinth that the problems they are facing are as a result of the improper observance of the Lord’s Supper. The Christians were guilty of observing the Lord’s Supper as if it were only an ordinary meal. As a consequence, there were divisions between the rich and the poor because the Lord’s Supper was observed in the context of the ordinary meal. The rich always hosted these meals and the poor were excluded. This resulted in the poor going hungry and the rich having enough to eat and drink. 

Therefore, St. Paul provides counsel to assist us in understanding and appreciating the true meaning and significance of the Lord’s Supper so we can observe it appropriately. Mainly, he wants us to observe this supper as a sacred rite so that we are considerate of each other’s needs. In celebrating this sacred day, the Church echoes the generosity of Jesus and reminds us that he did not come into this world to seek honor and homage. Rather, he came in humility, desiring to reveal his love of God to all humanity. Even as he was betrayed by one of his friends, Jesus’ greatest concern was that his disciples be assured of his love. He knew that if they were confident of his care for them, they would be freer to love others and share his words with them. 

Jesus invites us to his meal, where we receive his flesh and blood in the Eucharist. As we participate in this meal, Jesus washes our feet, cleansing away the cares and strains of life in this fallen world. He shows us that we are his beloved, fills us with his love, and empowers us to desire the best for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Jesus knows how deeply we need his love if we are to experience the joy of living for him, He kneels before us now today ready to wash us, love us, and fill us. Are we ready to welcome his humble gesture and acknowledge his presence in the Eucharist? By washing our feet through the Holy Eucharist, he restores us to his heavenly Father. He strengthens us, softens the hardness of our hearts, and heals us. It is this very love of God that compels us to journey as Jesus did, sharing his love with others in humility and mercy.  

As we commemorate this day, let us remember to pray for the Pope, Bishops, Priests, and all the other men and women of goodwill. We pray for many vocations throughout the world as well so that the church may flourish. May we acknowledge his presence and accept the salvation he offers us to receive the gift of the Eucharist as food for our salvation.   

Ismael Matambura



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