Holy Thursday is the first liturgy of the Holy Triduum, and the liturgy includes the Liturgy of the Word, The Washing of the Feet, and The Transfer of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Last night the Liturgy of the Word for Holy Thursday linked the Old Testament to the New Testament and prompted Catholics to reflect on the over-arching plan for Salvation History. The first reading focused on the Passover from the Book of Exodus. In the second reading Saint Paul included his reminder of the significance of the Last Supper linking to the Eucharistic Prayers we hear at every Mass. Finally, the Gospel highlighted the significance of the washing of the feet, concluding with, “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” (John 13:12-15).
Following Pope Francis’ decree in January of 2016 officially allowing priests the option to wash the feet of a wider representation of the parish community, for Holy Thursday 2016 Fr. Saji decided to wash the feet of Confirmation candidates and other youth in the Religious Education and Youth group programs. With the Washing of the Feet, we can reflect on what we do to serve others. The Year of Mercy provides a special scaffold as there are many reminders and resources available to consider the Works of Mercy and how it can apply to our day to day lives.
After Communion, the acolytes, altar servers, youth participating in the washing of the feet, and Fr. Saji led a processional to the day chapel for the transfer of the Most Blessed Sacrament while the choir led the congregation in singing Sing, My Tongue, The Savior’s Glory. This point of the liturgy links to the Agony in the Garden, the betrayal of Judas and Jesus’ arrest. This portion of the liturgy is also significant because it points toward the only day of the year in which Mass is not celebrated, Good Friday. As a result, during Holy Thursday the Priest consecrates enough hosts for both Holy Thursday and Good Friday. After the transfer of the Most Blessed Sacrament, parishioners were invited to spend time in Adoration.