Great and Holy Thursday

Commemorated on April 29

THURSDAY: The Last Supper

Two events shape the liturgy of Great and Holy Thursday: the Last Supper of Christ with His disciples, and the betrayal of Judas. The meaning of both is in love. The Last Supper is the ultimate revelation of God’s redeeming love for man, of love as the very essence of salvation. And the betrayal of Judas reveals that sin, death and self-destruction are also due to love, but to deviated and distorted love, love directed at that which does not deserve love. Here is the mystery of this unique day, and its liturgy, where light and darkness, joy and sorrow are so strangely mixed, challenges us with the choice on which depends the eternal destiny of each one of us. “Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come… having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end…” (John 13:1). To understand the meaning of the Last Supper we must see it as the very end of the great movement of Divine Love which began with the creation of the world and is now to be consummated in the death and resurrection of Christ.

God is Love (1 John 4:8). And the first gift of Love was life. The meaning, the content of life was communion. To be alive man was to eat and to drink, to partake of the world. The world was thus Divine love made food, made Body of man. And being alive, i.e. partaking of the world, man was to be in communion with God, to have God as the meaning, the content and the end of his life. Communion with the God-given world was indeed communion with God. Man received his food from God and making it his body and his life, he offered the whole world to God, transformed it into life in God and with God. The love of God gave life to man, the love of man for God transformed this life into communion with God. This was paradise. Life in it was, indeed, eucharistic. Through man and his love for God the whole creation was to be sanctified and transformed into one all-embracing sacrament of Divine Presence and man was the priest of this sacrament.

To read more, go to https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2021/04/29/24-great-and-holy-thursday.

Troparion — Tone 6

Of Your Mystical Supper, O Son of God, / accept me today as a communicant. / For I will not speak of Your mysteries to Your enemies, / neither like Judas will I give You a kiss, / but like the thief will I confess You. / Remember me, O Lord, in Your Kingdom!

Troparion — Tone 4

By Your precious blood, / You have redeemed us from the curse of the law. / By being nailed to the cross and pierced by a spear, / You have poured forth immortality for man. / O our Savior, glory to You!

Kontakion — Tone 8

Come, let us all sing the praises of Him who was crucified for us, / for Mary said when she beheld Him upon the tree: / Though You endure the cross, You are my Son and my God!

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