Holy Thursday – Men, Women, Friends A reflection by Bill Thornton

da_vinci_last_supper__2Holy Thursday is so rich in meaning. There is the foot-washing, the institution of the Eucharist, the ordination of the first priests, John’s long last discourse, … The Scripture from Holy Thursday is almost endless. Maybe that’s why I did not know where to start. Then I thought of da Vinci’s Last Supper. That picture contains 13 men and no women. This seems a little strange since it was painted to decorate a refectory for a community of nuns. Then it occurred to me that the stories of Holy Thursday do not mention a woman. Scripture scholars speculate that there must have been women there. Who cooked? Who served the meal? Where was Mary? Where were the other Holy women that appear in the stories of Good Friday? What would have been the scene if Jesus had offered to wash the feet of His mother or of Mary Magdalene? While there was conversation about Jesus death, and the men reacted as if they had gone a little overboard on the wine, what were the women saying, doing and thinking? We will never know the answers to these questions.

Friday, by way of contrast, is like Ladies’ Day. There were the women weeping for Jesus on the Via Dolorosa, Veronica, and on Calvary, “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.” [I almost forgot Pilate’s wife.] While no man came to Jesus’ support except Simon, the Cyrenian, who was pressed into service against his will, the women were out in force.

This is just an observation. Is there a lesson for us here? I would suggest that whether intended or not, there is a lesson about diversity. Genesis says,

“God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them;
male and female — he created them.”

Later it says, “And He found it very good.”

God cherishes the differences among His creatures, otherwise why would we have the plenteous species of birds, animals, insects, tree, flowers — and people. God comes to each of His creatures in a special way – a way suitable to that creature – and he seeks a response from each creature suitable from that creature. At this time at the end of Lent, when Jesus invites us to wash our sisters’ as well as our brothers’ feet, when he gives us His body to eat and His blood to drink, and when he calls us FRIENDS, it would be a good idea to consider how we approach each of God’s people and what kind if response we expect from them.



Filed under Holy Thursday, Triduum

2 responses to “Holy Thursday – Men, Women, Friends A reflection by Bill Thornton

  1. John Koubek

    You gave me a broader view of Holy Thursday and Good Friday. A more inclusive view!
    Thank you

  2. Kathleen

    Very insightful, Bill! You always give me something to think about…..thank you!