On the Thursday of Holy Week, we commemorate the Last Supper. In the Christian Scriptures we read that on this day, the night before he died, Jesus celebrated the Jewish Passover (Pesach) in an upper room with his friends. The Passover is a holy day in the Jewish calendar. It recalls how God saved his Chosen People, the Israelites, from slavery in the land of Egypt. Throughout history, the Jewish people have celebrated this event by gathering in their homes to retell the story of their liberation.
When Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples, he said as he broke the bread, “This is my body”, and as he passed the cup, “This is my blood”. These words and actions became central to the Mass. Now, every time we celebrate the Mass, we remember the mystery of our liberation from sin through Christ.
This family ritual draws on the rich symbolism of both the Jewish Passover and the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. It may be used during Holy week or any time of the year.
- Unleavened bread (eg Lebanese bread, or make your own. See This Recipe.)
- Wine (or grape juice)
- Bowl, small towel and jug of water for washing
- Large Plate (for the bread)
- Cup or glass (for the shared wine)
- If having a full meal, cook the meat and keep warm. Prepare the vegetables and set aside.
- Set the table with a place for each person.
- Place candles in the center of the table but do not light. Place bread and wine in the center of the table.
- Assign reading parts. Everyone present can participate in either reading a part or doing an activity.
What are your family’s Holy Thursday traditions? Have you ever learned much about the Jewish traditions and history of Passover? How did you go trying this at home? Tell us in the comments below.
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