Today, April 14, is Holy Thursday, the day on which Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his apostles and instituted two sacraments for the salvation of mankind: The Eucharist and Holy Orders.
A commandment that renews everything
The Catholic Church commemorates this day with a very special Eucharistic celebration. In it, the priest carries out, in imitation of Christ, the washing of the feet of twelve people in the assembly; each of them represents one of the apostles.
With this gesture, it is Jesus himself who places himself in front of men, making himself a paradigm, model and measure of love through service: “If, then, I, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you must also Wash one another’s feet, because I have given you an example, so that you do as I have done to you” (Jn 13, 14-15).
Then, with our eyes fixed on the Master, we hear Him say to us: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another: so that, just as I have loved you, you also love one another” (Jn 13, 34). From the Lord we receive the “new commandment” of charity, the greatest proposal, the greatest challenge, God’s initiative to which we can respond with the help of his overflowing Grace -gift for us to be happy and fulfilled-. That is the way.
A few years ago, in a conversation with ACI Prensa, Fr. Donato Jiménez, OAR, recalled that during Holy Thursday we should take advantage of the opportunity to reconcile with our neighbor, internalizing Jesus’ teaching on charity. In addition, he pointed out that many people go to the central Eucharist of the day, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, “because of an act of faith”, which is fine, but one should also go with “a heart willing to find the meaning of love of neighbor”.
What we must not lose sight of: sacramental life
On the other hand, we also celebrate today that Christ instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders, as well as the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Jesus established a before and after in the life of Grace when he breaks the bread during the Last Supper and tells the apostles: “Do this in memory of me”. In other words, in the words of Fr. Jiménez, “on this day Jesus leaves his testament: the Eucharist, the priesthood and the mandate to love one another.”