Holy Thursday

Mass Readings for Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

The readings for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper are the same for years A, B, and C:

  • First Reading: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14: “This day shall be a memorial feast for you,”
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 116: “Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.”
  • Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 : “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
  • Gospel: John 13:1-15: “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.”

Themes for Holy Thursday

On Holy Thursday, Catholics remember the last supper of Jesus Christ with his apostles. This marks the establishment of the sacrament of the Eucharist (Holy Communion). This day also commemorates the establishment of the priesthood. The washing of the feet reminds us how Jesus instructed us to love and serve one another.

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for Holy Thursday.

Resources and Ideas for Holy Thursday

Lent and Triduum Cryptogram Puzzle

This printable cryptogram is a fun way to introduce youth to the vocabulary for Lent and Triduum. Each word is encrypted and definitions are given. Youth must consider the definition and then decrypt the word.

Attend the Mass of the Lord’s Supper

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper commemorates the last supper of Jesus Christ with his disciples, when the institution of the priesthood and the Eucharist took place.  Holy Thursday is not a holy day of obligation, but attending as a family can be a significant spiritual experience for Catholics.

Visit a Garden and Pray

Christ went to pray at the Garden of Gethsemane. It is a prayer of total surrender to the Father’s will.  So as a Lenten activity, go to a garden and think about the Garden of Gethsemane. Take your children and teenagers and teach them to pray as Jesus did.

Homilies and Reflections

A Meditation on Holy Thursday

Scott Hahn reflects that the readings for the Holy Thursday Mass focus on the continuity between the ancient Jewish Passover and the institution of the Eucharist. As the Passover was the meal that marked the transition from slavery to Egypt to the freedom of the Exodus, so the Eucharist is the meal that marks the transition from slavery to sin to the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Maundy Thursday: A Mandate, a Meal, and a Ministry

Let’s take a deeper look at what we celebrate on Holy (or “Maundy”) Thursday. The liturgical celebration of Holy Thursday combines several events: Jesus washing the apostles’ feet, the institution of the Eucharist, the issuing of the new commandment, and his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The Gift of the Eucharist

Bishop Robert Barron explains that the Church comes from the Eucharist for it is the sacrifice that makes saints. The Eucharist is essentially the fullest act of gratitude prefigured in Melchizedek finding its fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ.

More Thoughts for Holy Thursday

Jesus came to be a revelation of God. He shows us the Father’s heart. God desires us all to live together in harmony and to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. Jesus shows us that we must have a servant’s hearts. We must do the work of actively loving each other through our actions.

Reflection Questions

  • How have I served today?
  • What prevents me from having a servant’s heart?
  • How has Jesus washed my feet recently?

Quotes and Social Media Graphics for Holy Thursday

If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.

I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.

John 13:14-15

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