Holy Thursday: Reflections on the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Published: March 16, 2016

Author: Congregation of Holy Cross, United States Province of Priests and Brothers

Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Rev. Ronald P. Raab, C.S.C.
Gospel: John 13:1-15

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that His hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved His own in the world and He loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand Him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into His power and that He had come from God and was returning to God, He rose from supper and took off His outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around His waist. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around His waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” Peter said to Him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.” Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.” For He knew who would betray Him; for this reason, He said, “Not all of you are clean.” So when He had washed their feet (and) put His garments back on and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. 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.


This first liturgy of the sacred Triduum bridges Christ’s presence in the action of broken bread and shared cup and the action of washing feet. Here prayer and service become the mission of the disciples, the link and foundation of becoming believers. We are called in this text to see the passion, death and resurrection of Christ in the holy bath for cleansing feet. Humble service to those in need is the real presence of Jesus in the world. Our basins overflowing with water is the reality of our baptismal life, to welcome the poor, receive the stranger, embrace the leper, offer a place at the table for the homeless, and a new kindness to those the world shuns.

Begin humbly in prayer this day and reflect on how Christ has washed your feet this year. Be open to the ways He has received your sin, your broken heart, your discouragement. Become grateful for your life washed in his basin. Ask Jesus how you are to become hospitable to the poor, the forgotten, the sick, the mentally ill, or those you neglect. Imagine yourself tearing and eating bread with Him, drinking from His cup and being called to wash the feet of the poor.


1. Jesus, wash my feet so _________________.
2. The Eucharist, broken bread and shared cup teaches me ________________.
3. Jesus, help me cleanse others so ____________.
4. Jesus, today I humbly long for ________________________.
5. The world is in need of cleansing and I ________________________.


In the small upper room
You filled our memories with food and drink.
You taught us to love with a basin of water.

Receive me as I am to serve You.
Open my life to the love You have for me.
Challenge my heart to welcome my neighbor.

Enliven me to open new doors for the poor.
Help me rest in our unity of bread and wine.
In Your real presence we all find home.