Holy Thursday  Year B
April 1, 2021 – 7:00 PM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Exodus 12:1-18;11-14 | Psalm 116:112-13;15;16bc-18
Corinthians 11:23-26| John 13:1-15

+In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

It took Leonardo da Vinci three years to complete the “Lord’s Supper” one of the most famous paintings in the world.  This painting depicts one of the most significant events in the life of Jesus:  the farewell meal He shared with His disciples.

Today is Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday because, during the Last Supper, Jesus gives a new mandate to His disciples.  “Maundy” is a short form of the Latin word “Mandatum” which is taken from the Gospel of John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you.  That you love one another as I have loved you.”

In today’s first reading from the Book of Exodus, we are told about the Passover feast where each household in Israel offered a Lamb for sacrifice.  On the day before the delivery of Israel from Egypt, the people of Israel received instruction to take some of the blood of the Lamb and apply it to the two doorposts of each household.  This was done in order to save the household from the angel of death, who seeing the blood, will pass over that house, not striking down the firstborn.

It is significant to note that the Last Supper occurred during the celebration of Passover as Jesus replaces the Lamb’s blood with His own blood for our salvation.  The Lord’s Supper presents Jesus to us as the new Moses through whom God sends Manna or spiritual food from heaven.

The Passover of the Old Testament was a memorial feast celebrated once a year for the people of Israel whereas the Passover of the New Testament, known as the Holy Eucharist, is a sacrifice of thanksgiving celebrated at all times including during Mass, on feast days, at weddings, baptisms, and funerals.

In our second reading from First Corinthians, Paul reminds us that the Holy Eucharist is a time of self-reflection about our sin and Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

It was during the Last Supper that Jesus put His new mandate into action:

“He rose from supper and took off His outer garments.  He took a towel and tied it around His waist.   Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet.”

Jesus washed the feet of Judas who would betray Him and He also washed the feet of Peter, who would deny Him.

The washing of feet is symbolic of baptism.  Jesus tells us that we “ought to wash one another’s feet. “  And He has given us “an example that you should do just as I have done to you.”  Jesus shows us that foot-washing represents humility and denial of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

Holy Thursday sets the stage for Good Friday.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, tonight we gather to remember our Savior, Jesus, and His sacrifice of love for us.

We remember His last meal with His disciples and the betrayals and pain He would soon suffer. We pray our faith will grow as we once again experience His death and Resurrection.

Send your Spirit to guide us, and be with us during this difficult and mysterious time.