Holy Thursday has three parts to it. Two of these are part of the Last Supper.
During the Last Supper, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. This was a task only done by servants or slaves. People came off the streets where lots of animals walked and where there was abundant dirt and refuse. Washing the feet of those coming off the streets was not a pleasant task.
Jesus astonished his disciples by this act. He was the leader and ‘master’ and he was doing this menial and lowly task!
The meaning of His message: ‘wash each other’s feet’, was, if you are a leader and a follower of Christ, you need to be a servant. We need to be a serving, healing and humble Church. It is the dear wish, indeed a command of Jesus. We need constant reminders of this! We are in the service of each other and indeed of all people.
The second aspect of Holy Thursday is the Eucharist. In the context of this meal, Jesus gives us the Eucharist to celebrate in memory of Him. The Eucharist is also intimately connected with his total offering of himself in the service and a great act of love of the ‘ABBA” i.e. to the Father, to God.
He gives us himself as a nourishment, as food. The Eucharist is his parting gift to us, to remember Him loving us and to serve and love each other. In the Sunday Eucharist when we gather together, we are strengthened by Him and by being together – conscious that millions and millions of fellow Christians are joined with us in an amazing and deeply spiritual action. From this action, we join with the Risen Christ and send his love to all of creation.
Of course, we are called to live Eucharistic every day, every moment of how we live Christ centered lives. The actual gathering for Eucharist is a wonderful gift that helps energize us for our daily service in love.
The last main part of Holy Thursday is the Agony in the Garden. Jesus could see what was coming and he nearly fell to pieces. He struggled and begged for it to go away and yet remained faithful and still trusting in his Abba.
This is a great reminder to us to continue trusting as we face our challenges in life. As we move through these special three days, that is, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday night combined with Easter Sunday, it is not only the story of Jesus and what happened to Him, indeed it is about Jesus, however it is also about us, it is also our story, our drama!
The three days move from one to the other. They are a bit like a ‘Holy Package’.
God bless you today.
+Bishop Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin