Holy Thursday, March 28, 2013



Below, you'll find a reflection for today, Holy Thursday, that I wrote for Pax Christi USA's Lenten reflection booklet in 2002.


We hope that you have a blessed Holy Week.




By John Zokovitch


Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14 | 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 | John 13:1-15


The "last supper" scene in John's gospel is strikingly different than its counterparts in the other gospels. When we read the passages from Matthew, Mark and Luke, we witness a scene - bread and wine, eating and drinking - that is reminiscent of our own experiences of Eucharist in the liturgy. But the ritual action in John's gospel is completely different. Why? Is it that John simply did not know of the tradition of eating bread and drinking wine? Most scholars agree that this is not the case; for instance, John presents Jesus in a very "eucharistic" setting in chapter 6 at the multiplication of the loaves and again in 6:52-58 , where he speaks of his flesh as "true food" and his blood as "true drink." So why is it that John chooses a different ritual action for Eucharist - the washing of feet - instead of employing the action of eating bread and drinking wine?


John tells us that Jesus washes his disciples' feet in order to provide a model for the discipleship community to follow, to practice among their membership. Many of us know the action of washing another's feet in the cultural milieu of first-century Palestine was an action not even required of the lowest of slaves. Therefore Jesus' action toward his disciples is one that calls for a radical redefinition of leadership within the discipleship community - namely that service to one another is the true manifestation of leadership. This in itself is a stunning reversal of the dominant myth of our culture that leadership is about power. But why does John choose to place the foot-washing in the context of Eucharist?...


In Christ's peace,


Johnny Zokovitch

Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA

P.S. To see more resources for Lent, visit us at http://paxchristiusa.org/programs/lent/.