The Holy Thursday Revolution
By Sister Sheila Novak, SDS
Blue Bloods is one of my favorite TV shows. It is not too bloody even though crimes are committed. The “bad” person is brought to justice and the cause of the common good is served. But my favorite part of the show is just the five minutes devoted to the family meal. All gather around the table with a “priest” at the head of the table on each end. In this case, it’s a grandfather and a father. A lot happens as family members bring up dilemmas, questions, opinions, arguments and the two “priests” take it in, let it unfold, and throw in a piece of wisdom when things seem like they are getting out of hand. This meal ritual is the glue that holds the family together.
We are getting close now to Holy Week, our most sacred time of the year. Holy Thursday is the doorway into the last days of the physical life of Jesus on earth. Throughout the three years of his “table ministry,” Jesus ate with all sorts of folks. He was criticized for eating with tax collectors and sinners, which seemed to be part of his plan! It was his wonderful and ordinary way of being with, rubbing elbows with, and challenging or healing those gathered at the meal. So it is no surprise that on the eve of his death, he gathered with his followers for a last meal. At this meal for one final time, he dramatically did what he calls us to do. He washed feet in the humblest of services and urged us to love one another.
We remember that the priesthood was established on Holy Thursday, a priesthood that we became a part of at our baptism. We were declared to be “priest, prophet and king (ruler)”. It is the way we continue what Jesus began and desires us to be. When you think about it, Jesus’ way was a revolution — that means we are called to be revolutionaries! We are to make forms of “table ministry” part of our strategy. We are to live Holy Thursday, not just celebrate it! What does this look like for me?