Holy Thursday of the Lord’s Supper

By the Diocese of Wollongong, 28 March 2024
A tapestry depicting the Last Supper as seen during Holy Thursday Mass at St Patrick's Parish, Guildford. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


Holy Thursday of the Lord’s Supper

Readings: Exodus 12:1–8, 11–14; Psalm 115(116):12–13, 15–18; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26; John 13:1–15

28 March 2024


“I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.” John 13:15

In his book The Eucharist: Our Sanctification, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap, preacher to the Papal Household, says: “The Eucharist is not only a mystery to be consecrated, received, and adored, but also a mystery to be imitated.” In tonight’s Mass, Jesus gives us the inestimable gift of himself in the Eucharist. Yet, the Church reads its institution not in the Gospel of this Mass, but the second reading. The Gospel recounts the washing of feet with the emphasis on Jesus’ final words: “I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you” (Jn 13:15).

The reason is that in washing his apostles’ feet, Jesus is emphasising that his whole life is one of service—to the point of giving his life on the Cross that we might be saved. It is this aspect of Our Lord’s life and mission that is at the heart of tonight’s Mass, giving meaning and context to the other two mysteries celebrated: the Eucharist and the ministerial priesthood. The Eucharist is Jesus himself made present sacramentally for us to receive and adore, and it is through the ordained priest that this happens.

By receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, we are called to copy what he has done: to live a life of service in whatever vocation God has called us to. Tonight, let us examine our own life asking if we are truly living a life of service in love and humility. It is so easy for the opposite to be the case: where under the pretense of serving others, we, in fact, are serving ourselves and our own desires; where pride masquerades as humility, and self-interestedness as service, that seeks not the good of the other, but our own.

Jesus, thank you for showing me the meaning of true love; help me to do the same. Amen.

Fr Christopher G Sarkis

Fr Christopher G Sarkis is the parish priest of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Rosemeadow, in the Diocese of Wollongong, NSW. He was ordained in 1985 and has served in a number of parishes in the diocese. His current diocesan appointments include the College of Consultors, Council of Priests, and Clergy Remuneration Fund.


With thanks to the Diocese of Wollongong, who have supplied this reflection from their publication, Pietà – Lenten Program 2024Reproduced with permission.


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