Living the Liturgical Year: Holy Thursday

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We remember the Last Supper


Would you wash your best friend’s feet? Hmmm. But Jesus did that for his friends. And once a year, priests all over the world do the same. Why would anyone do this?

Believe it or not, in Jesus’ time, foot washing was a sign of welcome. If you were a guest in someone’s home in those days, you probably would have walked there. You’d have shared the dusty, dirty road with sheep and oxen. By the time you arrived, your feet would be pretty sweaty and grimy. Yuck! Your host would welcome you by having a servant wash your feet. Jesus took this servant’s job to show us that when our souls get mucked up with sin, he alone can get us sparkling clean. On the night of the Last Supper, Jesus poured water into a basin, washed each of the disciples’ feet, and dried them with a towel. Jesus said, “If I … have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).

On Holy Thursday, we remember Jesus’ words and actions. At parishes around the world,
priests wash people’s feet. Even the pope does this! It all happens at the evening Mass of the Last Supper. Now, you already know that at every Mass, we remember the Last  Supper, when Jesus shared his Body and Blood in the bread and wine. But on Holy Thursday, we especially remember when it all began. After Mass, we spend time in adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist, remembering how the apostles stayed with Jesus while he prayed in the garden on this night.

We also remember that after he’d washed the disciples’ feet, Jesus said, “As I have done for you, you should also do” (John 13:15). Every day, but especially on Holy Thursday, we remember all that Jesus has done for us. We ask ourselves, what can we “also do?” What will you “also do” to serve others in Jesus’ name?

BONUS: Download this page in a PDF format with activities to help celebrate this feast day. Click here: CAT.April-May2019_LivingtheLiturgicalYear

Connie Clark is editor of Living Faith Kids, a quarterly magazine of daily Catholic devotions for children. To learn more, visit

This article originally appeared in Catechist magazine in the April 2019 issue.



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