No celebration on our liturgical calendar reminds us more than Holy Thursday does that believing needs belonging. That belonging is so dramatically expressed to us in the central symbols of this day: the sharing of the Body and the Blood, and the humble service of washing one another’s feet: “Do this in memory of me;” “as I have done, so you must do.” It is impossible to be a follower of Jesus alone. There never was or is a time when Christianity was or is churchless, believed in, and lived out simply in private. Even in our deepest and most solitary moments of prayer, we are not alone in God’s presence, for we come as persons shaped by networks of relationships, joined to others by their reaching out to us and our reaching out to them, joined to others in faith and at the table of the Lord. From start to finish, the Gospel of Jesus repeats the call to communion in community: You can't love God without loving your neighbor; when you pray, say our Father; forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; if you go to the altar with an offering to God, leave it there and go first to be reconciled with your sister or brother; where two or three of you are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of you. Indeed even God is Communion: God is love; God is One in Three.
PrayerSo we pray today in the responsorial psalm: “To You will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving...My vows to the Lord I will pay in the presence of all His people.”
Fr. Richard Berube, S.S.E. ’61, emeritus professor of Religious Studies
ScriptureFirst Reading: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Gospel: John 13:1-15
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website