Holy Thursday: The Table of Welcome

Today’s readings
Versión en español

Do you sometimes find yourself hearing a Scripture passage you’ve heard before and begin zoning out?  I know I do.  Familiarity does this, it makes us stop paying attention.  The same thing can happen to our experience of Lent.  It’s Holy Thursday:  we go to church, there’s some foot washing, we go home.  One more Holy Thursday in the books.

What can we do to wake up?  Several years back I visited the art studio where my friend John August Swanson was working on his new Last Supper.  As I looked at it, I noticed that the color of the wine in the cups was not red!  I searched for the figure of Judas, but he was nowhere to be found!  This was the first time I had ever seen a Last Supper with a round table, framed by a sky full of stars and little scenes representing the wheat and wine harvests and the ways we are called to care for each other.

Last Supper, 2009, John August Swanson. Courtesy of the John August Swanson Studio and Trust.

I woke up!  Swanson had recovered the life-giving beauty of sharing a meal.  The painting calls us to the equality and intimacy of a round table, and to forget about Judas and betrayal for a while.  Our world is hurting enough.  This is the table where everyone is welcomed, where there is enough bread (is that pan dulce?) to fill our plates, and where the cups do not recall blood but sweet fruit punch and celebration.  I am welcomed at this table, and I can also create tables like this.  Jesus said he came so we may live life abundantly (John 10:10).  I believe him.  This Holy Thursday I want to awaken to joyful abundance and do my best to live it every day. 

  • What have I been missing in our beautiful religious tradition because I stopped paying attention?  
  • Where is there abundance in my life?
  • What can I do to help create abundance for others?
4 replies
  1. Judy Michalek
    Judy Michalek says:

    I love your emphasis on the positive!! So often our Church zooms in on our being sinners (I.e. the confiteor, and the GROSS St. Michael “prayer” that our parish insists on ending Mass with 🤬). THANK YOU for such a lovely vision of the Last Supper…as members of the Body of Christ, breaking bread together is what it’s all about. Happy Holy Thursday. 🥳

  2. Judy michalek
    Judy michalek says:

    THANK YOU for your lovely vision of Jesus at the Last Supper,. I so appreciate your emphasizing the positive. Our parish has a tendency to remind us we are sinners ( a la the confiteor) and in our diocese we end Mass with the hateful St Michael “prayer” vs. reminding us that WE are the Body of Christ.
    Thank you for your ministry. 🥳🙏🏽

  3. Lupe Ramirez
    Lupe Ramirez says:

    I felt that your article was written especially for me. You awakened my spirit to continue the journey to celebrate joyfully the resurrection of Our Lord with our loved ones & with our community of faith. Thank you. Happiest of Easter Sunday to you & your loved ones.

  4. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Thanks. For creating union of hearts and minds, the Round Table meal can be of immense help.


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