Holy Thursday During a Pandemic

Holy Thursday is the first day of the Triduum. These three days we journey with Jesus from the Last Supper to the Cross to the tomb. I love going to the liturgies of these three days. Today Jesus shows us how to love one another as He loves us, and then He gives us the Eucharist. At the end we follow Him to the Garden of Gethsemane where He asks us to stay awake and pray with Him as His suffering and death looms. This Holy Thursday we are all in our homes, unable to go to school, work or to church for almost a month.

Through washing His disciples feet, Jesus shows us how he wants us to humbly serve others out of love for one another as He loves us. We can honor Jesus and show our desire to follow His will by washing each others' feet in our homes. Gather as a family with a large bowl, a pitcher of water and hand towels. Someone place their feet over the bowl while another pours water over them and then dries them. Then that person stands and washes the next person's feet so all have a turn washing and being washed. As you do this, think of all the doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, teachers and first responders that have been working so hard for all of us. Imagine you are washing their feet too and pray for them.

Then Jesus calls us to partake in the divine life, He gives us the Sacrament of the Eucharist. At the Last Supper bread and wine became Jesus for us to receive, the holy Eucharist. Each time we receive the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass we become the Body and Blood of Christ and take that new life out into the world through our lives - through our words and actions.  As we are confined to our homes and unable to gather at church for Mass, we can still participate in Mass via Livestream on Facebook or on different Catholic websites. When the time comes to receive the Eucharist, pray The Prayer of Spiritual Communion. What does being Christlike in your homes look like now? Families being helpful to each other. Using kind words and being grateful. If you live alone making phone calls or writing letters to others. Let Jesus' Body and Blood bring you new life. 

Today's liturgy would end with a procession to the Altar of Repose. The Tabernacle of the church would be emptied and the Eucharist would be carried to the hall. It would be decorated with lots of green plants and candles, representing the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed in agony before He was arrested. Jesus asked His disciples to stay awake and pray with Him, but they fell asleep. Bring these stories of our faith to life in your home. Will you pray with Jesus tonight? How? When? Where in your home?

Holy Thursday during a pandemic is different, but not any less holy in the church of your home!