We may have our own Holy Thursday traditions, such as enjoying a home-cooked dinner before going to church, or perhaps sitting in Adoration with family members after the evening Holy Thursday Mass ends. We participate in these traditions since this is a holy day of the year.
But Holy Thursday Mass is not simply a holy day that we celebrate once a year during Holy Week. In fact, we celebrate Jesus’s sacrifice of his body and blood every single Mass of the year.
Let’s break down the Holy Thursday meaning and why we are constantly celebrating it.
The Holy Thursday Meaning
Holy Thursday is the final feast Jesus holds with his apostles before his arrest and crucifixion on Good Friday. At dinner, Jesus shares His Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine and says He will be the Passover sacrifice. He also washes the feet of his guests and reveals that one of His Apostles will betray him. On this night, Jesus established the sacrament of Holy Communion that we partake in every Mass. He also instituted the priesthood when he said, “Do this in memory of me.”
Therefore, in the Catholic Church, the hosting priest will wash the feet of the congregants during Holy Thursday Mass and reenact the Last Supper by converting the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus and dispersing it for churchgoers to consume.
Why Holy Thursday Is Remembered Every Day
When Jesus gave up His Body and Blood for our sins, he proved to humankind that we are more than our sins and that sin cannot permanently separate us from Him. Because of Jesus’s sacrifice, we can live with God forever in heaven even though we die on Earth.
God calls us to remember this sacrifice at least once a week. We are not meant to simply appreciate Jesus’s sacrifice on our own; rather, He calls us to gather and bond ourselves to others who also receive Jesus’s Body and Blood. God may even challenge us to receive Holy Communion every day, although that does not always fit into everyone’s schedules.
Whether we go to church daily or weekly, when we receive the Eucharist, Jesus physically unites with us. We gain strength to resist the temptations of the devil and become heirs to his kingdom, for Jesus says in John 6, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.”
Because Catholic churches exist all over the world, that means a priest is always somewhere celebrating Communion every hour of every day. As St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:17, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” This means that we are constantly in Holy Communion with Jesus Christ!
How do you celebrate Holy Thursday Mass?