First reading Exodus 12:1-8,11-14

The Passover is a day of festival for all generations, for ever

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:
  ‘This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.”’
 

Responsorial Psalm 115(116):12-13,15-18

The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ.
 
How can I repay the Lord
  for his goodness to me?
The cup of salvation I will raise;
  I will call on the Lord’s name.
 
The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ.
 
O precious in the eyes of the Lord
  is the death of his faithful.
Your servant, Lord, your servant am I;
  you have loosened my bonds.
 
The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ.
 
A thanksgiving sacrifice I make;
  I will call on the Lord’s name.
My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
  before all his people.
 
The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ.
 

Second reading 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.
 

Gospel Acclamation Jn13:34

Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
 
I give you a new commandment:
love one another just as I have loved you,
says the Lord.
 
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
 

Gospel John 13:1-15

Now he showed how perfect his love was

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.
  They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ said Simon Peter ‘not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus said, ‘No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, ‘though not all of you are.’
  When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’ he said ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’
 
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Gift

Holy Thursday can be summarized with one word: Gift. In the 2nd reading of St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we contemplate the gift of  Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist. Each time we celebrate the Eucharist, the same Jesus comes to us and tells us, “This is my body which is  for you”. Unfortunately, we tend to take for granted this gift of Jesus to us. Thus, today is a good opportunity for us to renew our appreciation  of this great gift of Jesus, who gives Himself in the form of bread and wine to be our food, our nourishment for our journey of life.
 
In the gospel, Jesus gave His disciples the gift of Himself in loving service by washing their feet. In Jesus’ culture, it was the task of the lowly servant. Peter objected to having his feet washed by Jesus. Nevertheless, Jesus insisted to do so because He wanted His disciples to know  the meaning of discipleship, i.e. not to dominate but to serve. Today, Jesus calls on us to follow Him by kneeling at the feet of others and  serving them with love.
 
Question for reflection:
What is Jesus telling me from my time of prayer with Him?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.