Holy Thursday and the Power of the Eucharist

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For Lent this year, we have asked eight sisters and associates to reflect on the Beatitudes and offer ways in which we may embrace these blessings in our own Lenten journeys. There will be additional reflections published for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Easter.

By Sister Patricia Mooney

“How can I repay the Lord for all the great goodness done for me? I will raise up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people.” (Ps. 116:12-14)

Pondering those words from the responsorial psalm of the Holy Thursday Liturgy brought forth images of Jesus living his life in response to the Psalmist’s “how?” His human heart must have been heavily laden, remembering the steps he had taken and anticipating those he soon would take during his Passion.

For the Sisters of Mercy 2021 Lenten blog series, artist and writer Sister Renee Yann created images to evoke the spirit of the Beatitudes and the blessed journey of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Click here to read how she describes her inspiration.

His guests at the Last Supper must have been alert to his behavior, confused and questioning why there was a modification in the Passover ritual. “Take and eat… Take and drink…” What did this mean? The disciples had witnessed Jesus providing nourishment before, but did this time seem different? What was he asking of them? What am I being asked to do? Would the words from the Triduum song “Were you there?” have been on my lips, as well?

I marvel that the same gift is given to us so that we might not only grow in the intimacy of God’s presence but pass on what we have received to others, and I am led to reflect on several experiences of the power of the Eucharist that have enriched my own life:

A young child having recently received her First Eucharist saw a man sitting on the curb outside a fast food restaurant and asked her mother for money to feed him first before she enjoyed her treat. When her mother asked why, she responded that Jesus would want her to.

An elderly woman with dementia, about to receive the Eucharist at home, sits up, eyes blazing with love, pronouncing “Amen” in a loud voice as she awaits her precious Lord.

An older gentleman asks to receive communion before returning to his wife, waiting outside in their car, in the cold, because she is unable to walk to the church. Tears fill his eyes when communion is also brought out to her. 

Each experience brought me to a deeper sense of the spiritual nourishment the Eucharist provide to all who receive it.

As a left hander, I often focus on the simple silver band on my ring finger, my visual sign of commitment promised to God and in return His gift to me of Eucharist, which feeds my hungry soul. As I say “amen” or in my heart “yes,” I am joined with others who are fed and thus fed myself. How can I repay the Lord?

What are your memories as you hear Jesus’ words – “Do this in remembrance of me” – echo through the centuries?