Rich in symbolism and significance, we are in the midst of the Church’s holiest days. From Palm Sunday through Easter, we celebrate Jesus’s victory and his message of love, service, and sacrifice.
Holy Thursday is the commemoration of Jesus’ Last Supper and the institution of the priesthood as well as the Eucharist. While celebrating the Passover feast with his disciples, Jesus predicted his betrayal by one of his followers, washed the feet of his first priests, broke bread saying it was his body, shared the cup of wine saying it was his blood, and instructed his disciples to repeat his actions in memory of him so that those who eat his body and drink his blood will have eternal life. Jesus was the Passover unblemished lamb whose blood would be shed for our salvation. He was, and is, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
This message is repeated at every Mass and particularly demonstrated on Holy Thursday. Presiders at this Mass will also wash the feet of parishioners symbolizing the humility of service and the cleansing with water through baptism.
Following the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Blessed Sacrament is processed to the Alter of Repose. There it remains “entombed” until Saturday’s Easter Vigil Mass in proclamation of the Resurrection. The congregation kneels in adoration in response to Jesus’ request that we pray with him as he asked his disciples to do in the Mount of Olives before his betrayal by Judas.
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