Holy Thursday, also known as “Maundy Thursday,” is the first day of the Paschal Triduum and commemorates the Last Supper.
It is celebrated by many of the faithful worldwide today, April 6, 2023.
Christians believe that at the Last Supper, Jesus Christ celebrated the first Eucharist, instituting the New Covenant.
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Jesus’ actions at the Last Supper were an act of love as an example to others, one Minneapolis priest told Fox News Digital.
“The heart of Christian life is love — a total self-gift,” said Fr. Paul Hedman, associate pastor at Church of St. Peter in Forest Lake, Minnesota.
Jesus “shows this at the Last Supper by giving us himself, his entire body, blood, soul and divinity through Holy Communion,” he explained.
A stained-glass window in Rome’s Church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme depicts the Last Supper. (iStock)
St. Augustine once said that “when we receive the Eucharist worthily we become what we receive,” noted Hedman.
Thus, “by receiving Jesus, we become more like him — more like love itself; indeed, love himself,” he added.
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“Strengthened by the graces received through communion, we then are called to show that same self-giving love to our neighbor,” he also said.
“We are called to give our entire heart, soul, mind and strength as Jesus gave his body. We are called to pour out ourselves in service to others as Jesus poured forth his blood.”
By receiving communion, we become more like Jesus, said Fr. Paul Hedman of Minnesota. (iStock/Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis)
During the Last Supper, Jesus did more than just celebrate the first Eucharist, faith leaders note.
The gospel reading during Catholic Mass on Holy Thursday is from the Gospel of John, and “doesn’t include Jesus saying those sacred words ‘this is my body’ and ‘this is my blood,'” noted Hedman.
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“Perhaps because his gospel was the last gospel to be written and deemed the Institution of the Eucharist already sufficiently covered, John focuses instead on Christ’s action of washing the feet of the twelve,” Hedman explained.
“Through Jesus’ actions on Holy Thursday, our call to love through the total gift of ourselves is made clear.”
While an account of the Last Supper is included in the liturgy with 1 Corinthians 11, “to complement and complete this, the lectionary makes sure to tell the entire story of what happened that evening, which we need to understand the entire picture,” said Hedman.
The Holy Eucharist is distributed during religious services on Holy Thursday. (iStock)
During the Last Supper, Jesus “played the role of servant by washing the feet of the twelve,” acting as an example for his followers to “live a life of being a servant to our neighbors,” he said.
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Some churches today wash the feet of congregants during services on Holy Thursday in an imitation of what Christ himself did.
“Through Jesus’ actions on Holy Thursday, our call to love through the total gift of ourselves is made clear,” said Fr. Hedman.
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“Through the reception of Holy Communion and the carrying out Christ’s commandments to wash each other’s feet, we are made more conformed to Christ, love himself, and we are made more ready for eternal life with the Blessed Trinity in heaven forever.”