Thursday, April 18, 2019
“This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 1 Cor. 11:24
We begin, today, the Triduum – the three great celebrations of our Catholic Faith. Yes, there are numerous celebrations that take place throughout the year. But these three celebrations are the heart of our faith and are the culmination of all of our worship. We begin today with the celebration of the Lord’s gift of the Most Holy Eucharist given through the priesthood He instituted. Tomorrow we enter into the mystery of His Crucifixion. Saturday after sundown we enter into the glory of His Resurrection.
On Holy Thursday evening, we begin the Triduum with the commemoration of the Last Supper. This event in history, which took place as a Passover meal shared with Jesus and His Apostles, begins the gift that brings us salvation.
On Holy Thursday, we hear the Lord say for the first time, “This is my body that is for you.” We hear Him point to the gift of the Holy Eucharist as His gift to us, given for our holiness and fulfillment. It’s a gift we will never be able to fathom or comprehend. It’s the gift of His complete self-giving and sacrificial love.
If we could only understand the Eucharist! If we could only understand this precious and sacred gift! The Eucharist is God Himself, present in our world, and given to us to transform us into that which we consume. The Eucharist, in a real way, transforms us into Christ Himself. As we consume the Holy Eucharist we are drawn into the divine life of the Most Holy Trinity. We are made one with God and are given the food of eternity.
On that first Holy Thursday, Jesus also offered an example of the perfect humility and service that we are called to imitate as we become one with Him. He washed the feet of His Apostles so as to teach them and us that His Body and Blood are given so as to enable us to love as He loved. The Eucharist transforms us into true servants who are called to humility. We are called to humble service of others. This service will take on various forms but it is what we are called to.
Do you serve those around you? Do you humble yourself before others to care for their most basic needs? Do you show them you love them by your actions? This is at the heart of Holy Thursday. Humble service is a beautiful expression of our own intimate union with the Son of God.
So often, true “greatness” is misunderstood. Greatness is often perceived with a secular understanding of success and admiration. Too often we want others to admire our accomplishments. But Jesus offers another view of greatness. On Holy Thursday, He shows that true greatness is found in this humble act of service. Imitating Him requires that we surrender our pride. And this is made possible when we consume the Holy Eucharist with faith. The Eucharist enables us to love and serve others in this humble way. And that love and service is an act that will win the hearts and souls of others for the Kingdom of God.
As we celebrate Holy Thursday, we are all challenged to ponder our humility and to commit ourselves to a radical and total gift of self to others.
Reflect, this night, upon whether or not you imitate the humility of our Lord. Are you committed to seeking ways in which you can serve others, showing them you love and care for them? Let Holy Thursday transform you so that you can imitate the great love that Jesus offered us on this glorious night.
Lord, help me to understand what it means to be a servant. Help me to live this humility in my actions. May the gift of Your most Sacred Body and Blood transform me into the person You desire me to be. Jesus, I trust in You.
Further Reading: Holy Thursday
Poem – The Charcoal Fire
Rosary – Sorrowful Mysteries (with Scripture)
Other prayers appropriate for Holy Thursday: