While they were at table eating, Jesus said, "In truth I tell you, one of you is about to betray me, one of you eating with me." They were distressed and said to him, one after another, "Not me, surely?" He said to them, "It is one of the Twelve, one who is dipping into the same dish with me. Yes, the Son of man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born."
As they were eating he took bread and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. "Take it, he said, this is my body." Then he took a cup and when he had given thanks he handed it to them and all drank from it and he said to them, "This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for many. In truth I tell you, I shall never drink wine any more until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God." (Mark 14:22-25)
The Church dedicates this day to those last hours which our Lord spent on earth and gratefully recalls the gift beyond all price, the legacy of his love, the gift of the Eucharist, which he bequeathed to his Bride. It is the feast of his last will and testament, the abiding pledge of his love, "As the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you, Abide in My love.....This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:9,12-13)
In John's gospel we see how Jesus enforces his words "love one another as I have loved you" by his example. He, the Lord and Master, girds himself with a towel and proceeds to wash and dry the feet of his disciples in order to teach them to render the same service to one another in humble and eager affection. He came to Simon Peter who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered, "At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand." "Never!" said Peter, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus replied, "If I do not wash you, you can have no share with me." Simon Peter said, "Well then, Lord, not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!" Jesus said, "No one who has had a bath needs washing, such a person is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are." He knew who was going to betray him and that was why he said "though not all of you are."
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments again he went back to the table. "Do you understand", he said, "what I have done to you" You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you must wash each other's feet. I have given you an example so that you may do what I have done to you."
He then left to make his way as usual to the Mount of Olives, with the disciples following. When he reached the place he said to them, "Pray not to be put to the test." Then he withdrew from them, about a stone's throw away, and knelt down and prayed. "Father, he said, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine." Then an angel appeared to him, coming from heaven to give him strength. In his anguish he prayed even more earnestly and his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
(Excerpts from the Holy Gospels)
Things to Do:
- Read Sr. Catherine Marie's reflections on Holy Thursday
- Pray the ......Liturgy of the Hours