Holy Thursday (B)
March 28, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.






O God, who have accomplished the work of human redemption
through the Paschal Mystery of your Only Begotten Son,
graciously grant that we, who confidently proclaim,
under sacramental signs, the Death and Resurrection of Christ,
may experience continued increase of your saving grace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.   Amen.

First Reading  Ex 12:1-8, 11-14

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2 This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. 4 If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbour in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. 7 They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the Passover of the Lord. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

Responsorial Psalm  Ps 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18

R/. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.

Second Reading 1 Cor 11:23-26

Beloved: 23 I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Verse Before the Gospel  Jn 13:34

Gospel Jn 13:1-15

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray him. And during supper 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 After he had washed their feet, put on his robe, and returned to the table, Jesus said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord— and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”

Catena Nova

[The following passages are offered for reflection before the Blessed Sacrament in the Repository]

O boundless charity! Just as you gave us yourself, wholly God and wholly human, so you left us all of yourself as food so that while we are pilgrims in this life we might not collapse in our weariness but be strengthened by you, heavenly food. O mercenary people! And what has your God left you? He has left you himself, wholly God and wholly human, hidden under the whiteness of this bread. O fire of love! Was it not enough to gift us with creation in your image and likeness, and to create us anew to grace in your Son's blood, without giving us yourself as food, the whole of divine being, the whole of God? What drove you?  Nothing but your charity, mad with love as you are! (St. Catherine of Siena)

My soul, if you wish to penetrate the depths of this Mystery, your gaze must be illumined by Love! You need to see and understand! Contemplate the Last Supper: see Jesus Who knows that He will soon be separated from the body of His humanity, and yet wishing to be united to us forever; contemplate the Love by which He institutes this Sacrament which permits Him to be corporeally and forever united to humankind. O Inextinguishable Love! O Love of Christ! O Love of the human race! What a true Furnace of Love! O Jesus, You already saw the death which awaited You; the sorrows and atrocious tortures of the Passion were already breaking Your Heart, and yet You offered Yourself to Your executioners, and permitted them, by means of this Sacrament, to possess You forever as an Eternal Gift, O You, Whose delights are to be with the children of men and women! (St. Angela Foligno)

Receiving Communion is not like picturing with the imagination, as when we reflect upon the Lord on the cross or in other episodes of the Passion, when we picture within ourselves how things happened to Him in the past. In Communion, the event is happening now, and it is entirely true. There’s no reason to go looking for Him in some other place farther away. ...Now, then, if when He went about in the world, the mere touch of His robes cured the sick, why doubt, if we have faith, that miracles will be worked while He is within us and that He will give what we ask of Him, since He is in our house? His Majesty is not accustomed to paying poorly for His lodging if the hospitality is good (St. Teresa of Avila).

Is it possible that there are souls who do not understand what the Blessed Eucharist is? Who are insensible to the Divine Presence…..to the mysterious and fervent effusions of the Sacred Heart of my Jesus? O Heart of Jesus! Heart of love!” “Yesterday, in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament I felt myself burning so fiercely that I had to go away. I felt stunned that so many could stay so close to Jesus and not be reduced to ashes. I felt that I would be consumed. Jesus is such a sweet and irresistible Lover; how can one fail to love Him with one’s whole heart and soul? How can one not wish to be wholly united in Him, and consumed in the flames of His holy love? (St. Gemma Galgani)

To stay at Your feet, O hidden God, Is the delight and paradise of my soul. Here, You give me to know You, O incomprehensible One, And You speak to me sweetly: Give Me, give ME your heart.

Silent conversation, alone with You, Is to experience what heavenly beings enjoy, And to say to God, "I will, I will give You my heart, O Lord," While You, O great and incomprehensible One, accept it graciously. Love and sweetness are my soul's life, And Your unceasing presence in my soul. I live on earth in constant rapture, And like a Seraph I repeat, "Hosanna!" O You Who are hidden, body, soul and divinity, Under the fragile form of bread, You are my life from Whom springs an abundance of graces; And, for me, You surpass the delights of heaven (St. Faustina Kowalska).

It is most important that the Holy Eucharist becomes life’s focal point: that the Eucharistic Savior is the center of existence; that every day is received from His hand and laid back therein; that the day’s happenings are deliberated with Him. In this way, God is given the best opportunity to be heard in the heart, to form the soul, and to make its faculties clear-sighted and alert for the supernatural...Moreover, life with the Eucharistic Savior induces the soul to be lifted out of the narrowness of its individual, personal orbit. The concerns of the Lord and His kingdom become the soul’s concerns...Those who attain the freedom of these heights and expansive views have outgrown what is usually called ‘happiness’ and ‘unhappiness’ (St. Edith Stein/Benedicta of the Cross).

The Eucharist is connected with the Passion. If Jesus had not established the Eucharist we would have forgotten the crucifixion. It would have faded into the past and we would have forgotten that Jesus loved us. There is a saying that to be far away from the eyes is to be far away from the heart. To make sure that we do not forget, Jesus gave us the Eucharist as a memorial of his love … When you look at the Crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then, when you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now (St. Theresa of Calcutta).

Meditation (Pope Francis; March 3, 2021)

On the evening of Holy Thursday, as we enter the Easter Triduum, we will relive the Mass known as in Coena Domini, that is, the Mass in which we commemorate the Last Supper, what happened there, in that moment. It is the evening when Christ left his disciples the testament of his love in the Eucharist, not as a memento, but as a memorial, as his everlasting presence. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, as I said at the beginning, we renew this mystery of redemption. In this Sacrament, Jesus substituted the sacrificial victim — the Paschal lamb — with himself: his Body and Blood grant us salvation from the slavery of sin and death. The salvation from every form of slavery is there. It is the evening in which he asks us to love one another by becoming servants to one another, as he did in washing the disciples’ feet, a gesture that anticipates his bloody oblation on the cross. And indeed, the Master and Lord will die on the next day to purify not the feet, but the hearts and the entire life of his disciples. It was an oblation of service to us all, because with that service of his sacrifice he redeemed us all.

Good Friday is the day of penance, fasting and prayer. Through the texts of the Sacred Scripture and the liturgical prayers, we will be as though gathered on Calvary to commemorate the redemptive Pasion and Death of Jesus Christ.  In the intensity of the rite of the Liturgical Action, the Crucifix will be presented to us to adore. Adoring the Cross, we will relive the journey of the innocent Lamb sacrificed for our salvation. We will carry in our minds and hearts the sufferings of the sick, the poor, the rejected of this world; we will remember the “sacrificed lambs”, the innocent victims of wars, dictatorships, everyday violence, abortions... Before the image of the crucified God, we will bring, in prayer, the many, the too many who are crucified in our time, who can receive comfort and meaning in their suffering only from him. And nowadays there are many: do not forget the crucified of our time, who are the image of Jesus Crucified, and Jesus is in them.

Ever since Jesus took upon himself the wounds of humanity and death itself, God’s love has irrigated these deserts of ours, he has enlightened our darkness. Because the world is in darkness. Let us make a list of all the wars that are being fought in this moment; of all the children who die of hunger; of children who have no education; of entire populations destroyed by wars, by terrorism. Of the many, many people who, just to feel a bit better, need drugs, the drug industry that kills… It is a calamity, it is a desert! There are small “islands” of the people of God, both Christian and of all other faiths, that hold in their heart the desire to be better. But let us tell the truth: in this Calvary of death, it is Jesus who suffers in his disciples. During his ministry, the Son of God disseminated life by the handful, healing, forgiving, reviving… Now, in the hour of his supreme Sacrifice on the cross, he brings to fulfilment the task entrusted to him by the Father: he enters into the abyss of suffering, he enters into these calamities of this world, to redeem and transform. And also to free every one of us from the power of darkness, of pride, of resistance to being loved by God. And this, only God’s love can do this. By his wounds we have been healed (cf. 1 Pt 2:24), the apostle Peter says, by his death we have been reborn, all of us. And thanks to him, abandoned on the cross, no one will ever again be alone in the darkness of death. Never, he is always beside us: we need only open our heart and let ourselves be looked upon by him.

Holy Saturday is the day of silence: there is a great silence throughout the World; a silence lived by the first disciples in mourning and bewilderment, shocked by Jesus’ ignominious death. While the Word is silent, while Life is in the sepulchre, those who had hoped in him were put to a difficult test, they felt like orphans, perhaps even orphaned by God. This Saturday is also Mary's day: she too lived it in tears, but her heart was full of faith, full of hope, full of love. The Mother of Jesus had followed her Son along the way of sorrows and remained at the foot of the cross, with her soul pierced. But when it all seemed to be over, she kept watch, she kept vigil, in expectation, maintaining her hope in the promise of God who raises the dead. Thus, in the world’s darkest hour, she became the Mother of believers, the Mother of the Church and the sign of hope. Her witness and her intercession sustain us when the weight of the cross becomes too heavy for each one of us.

In the darkness of Holy Saturday, joy and light will break through with the rites of the Easter Vigil and, in the late evening, the festive hymn of the Hallelujah. It will be the encounter in faith with the Risen Christ, and the joy of Easter will continue for all throughout the following 50 days, until the coming of the Holy Spirit. He who was crucified is risen! All questions and uncertainties, hesitations and fears are dispelled by this revelation. The Risen One gives us the certainty that good always triumphs over evil, that life always conquers death, and that it is not our end to descend lower and lower, from sorrow to sorrow, but rather to rise up high. The Risen One is the confirmation that Jesus is right in everything: in promising us life beyond death and forgiveness beyond sins. The disciples doubted, they did not believe. The first to believe and to see was Mary Magdalene; she was the apostle of the resurrection who went to announce that she had seen Jesus, who had called her by name. And then, all the disciples saw him But, I would like to linger on this point: the guards, the soldiers, who were at the sepulchre to prevent the disciples from coming and taking his body, saw him; they saw him alive and risen. His enemies saw him, and then they pretended not to have seen him. Why? Because they were paid. Here is the true mystery of what Jesus once said: “There are two masters in the world, two, no more: two. God and money. He who serves money is against God”. And here it was money that changed reality. They had seen the wonder of the resurrection, but they were paid to keep quiet. Let us think of the many times that Christian men and women were paid not to acknowledge in practice the resurrection of Christ, and they did not do what Christ asked us to do, as Christians.

Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website))

For the Church: that we may live like Jesus and spend our lives in loving service, washing the feet, carrying the burdens, and comforting the brokenness of one another.

For the grace to love: that we may love one another as Christ has loved us, forgive our enemies, and affirm the dignity of each person.

For greater awareness: that we may recognize God’s presence in the community that is gathered, in the Word that is proclaimed, in those who are ordained and in the Holy Eucharist as we gather for worship.

For the grace of unity: that divisions may be healed, unity restored, and that we may support one another in bringing forth the reign of God.

For all who are gathered here: that through our sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ, we may more fully become the Body of Christ and give faithful witness until Christ comes again.

For our priests: that they may be strengthened and renewed by God’s love, and following the example of Jesus, the great High Priest, faithfully lead us in prayer and service.

For those who are suffering:  that God will help the hungry find food, the persecuted relief, the abandoned inclusion and acceptance, and the unemployed new opportunities to use their gifts.

For all who have experienced discrimination or abuse: that God will heal their wounded memories, help them recognize their dignity as a child of God, and give them strength to live life fully.

O God, in the fullness of time you revealed your love  in Jesus the Lord.  On the eve of his death, as a sign of your covenant ,he washed the feet of his disciples and gave himself as food and drink. Give us life at this sacred banquet and joy in humble service, that, bound to Christ in all things, we may pass over from this world to your kingdom,  where he lives with you now and always in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Antiphon

Offertory Motet (Thomas Tallis)


A new commandment give I unto you, saith the Lord, that ye love together, as I have loved you, that e'en so ye love one another. By this shall ev'ry man know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Communion Antiphon


Procession to the Repository


Of the glorious Body telling, O my tongue, its mysteries sing, And the Blood, all price excelling, Which the world’s eternal King,  In a spotless womb once dwelling, Shed for this world’s ransoming.
Given for us, for us descending, Of a Virgin to proceed, Man with man in converse blending, Scattered he the Gospel seed, Till his sojourn drew to ending, Which he closed in wondrous deed.
At the last great Supper lying, Circled by his chosen band, Meekly with the law complying, First he finished its command, Then, immortal Food supplying, Gave himself by his own hand.
Word made Flesh, by word he maketh Very bread his Flesh to be; Man in wine Christ’s blood partaketh: And if senses fail to see, Faith alone the true heart waketh To behold the mystery.
Therefore we, before him bending, This great Sacrament revere; Types and shadows have their ending, For the newer rite is here; Faith, our outward sense befriending, Makes the outward vision clear.
Glory let us give, and blessing To the Father and the Son; Honour, might and praise addressing, While eternal ages run; Ever too his love confessing, Who, from both, with both is one. Amen.