Yesterday we finished Lent. On Holy Thursday we enter into the high point of the Church’s liturgical year with the Sacred Triduum, three days on our calendar but one beautiful liturgical moment taking us through the passion, death, and resurrection of Our Lord.
Holy Thursday reveals many rich elements for us to explore.
In the morning the bishop celebrates the Chrism Mass with the priests from around the diocese where he will wash their feet in imitation of Christ in anticipation of the evening liturgy where they will wash the feet of their parishioners. We also see the bishop bless all of the oils that will be used in the diocese throughout the year for various sacraments. In the evening we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper where the account of the last supper, or Passover is proclaimed. The Last Supper was where Jesus instituted the Eucharist. He also predicted both Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial. We also witness the washing of the feet and hear of Jesus’ mandate to serve one another. Thus, this day is sometimes called “Maundy Thursday” after the root “maundy," meaning "mandate.”
Liturgical Resources for the Day
Ideas to Celebrate in the Home
Pray the Rosary for all of those ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. In particular, include your own pastor and those priests whom you know and have blessed you and your family. Pray for the grace to serve, to sacrifice and to bless those in your lives as our priests have done and do for us.
Read through the account of the Passover in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 12. Afterwards, have a meal with those in your home. If possible, grill or roast some lamb, make some dip of bitter herbs, make some flatbread and celebrate with wine/grape juice commemorating the 4 cups of wine drunk as part of the Passover ritual taken from Exodus Chapter 6, where God promises to free the Israelites from Pharoah’s 4 evil decrees.
Eucharist means, “thanksgiving.” Gather those in your home and have everyone share whatever they are thankful for. Read through the gospel for The Mass of the Lord’s Supper and discuss how Jesus gave Himself to us in the Eucharist, and that even though we are unable to receive Him at this time we look forward to receiving this great gift when we are able. Finish by praying an Act of Spiritual Communion. Listen to a free talk by Dr. Scott Hahn entitled, “The Fourth Cup,” explaining in an amazing way the connection between the Passover and the Eucharist.
Gather those in the home around a fire outside or a fireplace inside. Invite everyone to share times when each have found it hard to talk to people about their faith or about Jesus. Reflect on what it would have felt like to be in Peter’s or Judas’ shoes. Pray together an Act of Contrition in reparation for any times where you denied Jesus or betrayed Him in any way.
Read through the gospel for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, where Jesus washes the feet of His disciples. Here he shows us that we are called to serve each other. Follow the reading with your own ceremony where those at home wash each other’s feet or some other commitment to serve those in need.