Readings:  Exodus 12:1–8, 11–14; Psalm 116; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26; John 13:1–15


Body and Blood of ChristFor Jesus, this day was the celebration of the Passover. Often during his life, Jesus spent Passover with his Mom and Dad and extended family, but this time plans were to eat with his friends. For Jesus, this was a solemn day remembering the mercy of God saving his people. We usually celebrate Holy Thursday in church participating in the liturgy of Holy Thursday. 2020 is very different, so let’s be grateful that we have virtual Holy Week services via technology and live streaming. And we have time!

Reading the Gospel for the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (John 13:1-15), I found that certain words and phrases held my attention. The words describe so well what might have been thoughts in the mind of Jesus. I found myself reflecting on just how I might feel if I were in Jesus’ place.

John writes:
“Jesus knew his hour had come to pass from this world to his Father . . .
Jesus loved his own in the world . . .
Jesus was fully aware that he had come from God and was returning to God . . .”
Jesus gave us an example of service in washing his disciples’ feet.
Jesus knew the disciples didn’t understand but assured them that they would understand later.
Jesus asked his friends, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
        I have given you an example that as I have done, so you should do.” 

Some of John’s words console us because we often feel like Jesus:

We love our own in the world.
We don’t understand now what we hope we will understand later.
We recognize goodness in the example of serving one another, feeding each
        other, even washing each other’s feet.

And as scripture often does, some of John’s words invite us to go deeper into the spiritual quest that is ours.  

How will we be, how will we behave, if and when we know that our hour has come to leave this world and return to God? Spend a moment or two on this thought today.

We may wonder how it would be to realize, all the time, that we have come from God and will be returning to God. Recall for a few minutes when you have had such a realization.

And, finally, how human it is for us to hope that examples we give will inspire similar love in action, because those who know us follow our example of life and living.

As we continue, let us “do this in memory” of Jesus! God’s grace surrounds us at every moment.

–Sister Karen Helfenstein


Sister Karen HelfensteinKaren Helfenstein, SC, is a nurse and health administrator who has spent most of her life and work in Catholic health care. Currently she serves as Director of Sponsorship Services for the Sisters of Charity of New York.