Holy Thursday is the first day of the The Easter Triduum, which begins with Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, reaches its peak moment in the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night and concludes with Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday. These three days represent the highpoint of our entire year as Christians. The Triduum can be viewed as one moment of celebration that unfolds over the course of three days. Here we meet the deepest mysteries of our faith in some of the most unique rituals of the Church. In these liturgies we celebrate and re-insert ourselves into the Paschal Mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Christ. This is our faith.
To highlight your journey as you walk these three days with Jesus, today you might like to set up a prayer space in a prominent place in your home. This can be a small table with a coloured cloth on it. There, each day, you can place different symbols or things of meaning to you and your family. You might start by placing in the prayer space the most beautiful candle you have to remind us of the living presence of Jesus among us, and a Bible which contains God’s Word.
There are only two Masses allowed on Holy Thursday, the Chrism Mass and the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. At the Chrism Mass the bishop blesses the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of Catechumens and consecrates the Oil of Chrism. These oils are used in the diocese throughout the following year. This year in the Diocese of Dublin this Mass has been deferred to a time when we can gather once more as a diocesan family. After the evening Mass on Holy Thursday no other Mass is celebrated until the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night.
At the heart of Holy Thursday is Jesus’ command to follow him by serving others, modelled by Jesus in the washing of feet and the gift of himself in the Eucharist. This year we cannot have the ceremony of the Washing of Feet but there will be a bowl of water and a towel displayed in the sanctuary to remind of our Christian obligation to serve others. We will also have a special prayer at this time for all those who are reaching out and working so hard in our communities and our hospitals to help others during this pandemic. Are there ways that we can serve others at this time?
Something To Do at Home?: Try to make a special effort to share a family meal today or if you are not with family to give them a call. Say a grace before and after your meal. Remind yourself of this year’s Trócaire Lenten campaign (see trocaire.org and your Trócaire box) and think about how you can support their work as they try to serve the poorest communities in our world.