Holy Thursday

April 14, 2022

April 14, 2022

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April 14, 2022

Holy Thursday

Dr. Kim R.

Dr. Kim R.

Harris

Harris

I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table

Historic Negro Spiritual and Civil Rights Movement Freedom Song

[Verse 1 and Refrain]

I'm gonna sit at the welcome table
I'm gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days, Hallelujah
I'm gonna sit at the welcome table
I'm gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days

[Verse 2]

I’m gonna walk the streets of glory
I’m gonna walk the treets of glory one of these days, hallelujah
I’m gonna walk the streets of glory
I’m gonna walk the treets of glory one of these days

[Verse 3]
All God's children gonna sit together (Yes)
All God's children gonna sit together one of these days, hallelujah
All God's children gonna sit together,
All of God's children gonna sit together one of these days,

[Verse 4]
I'm gonna tell God how you treat me (Yes)
I'm gonna tell God how you treat me one of these days, hallelujah
I'm gonna tell God how you treat me,
I’m gonna tell God how you treat me one of these days

[Verse 5]

I’m gonna sit at Woolworth’s lunch counter
I’m gonna sit at Woolworth’s lunch counter one of these days, hallelujah
I’m gonna sit at Woolworth’s lunch counter
I’m gonna sit at Woolworth’s lunch counter one of these days, hallelujah

[Verse 6]
I'm gonna be a registered a voter
I'm gonna be a registered voter one of these days, Hallelujah
I'm gonna be a registered voter
I'm gonna be a registered voter one of these days

When I think of Holy Thursday and the Eucharistic table, this song always comes to mind.

I see African American college students Ezell A. Blair, Jr., Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond sitting at the Woolworth’s lunch counter protesting segregation on February 1, 1960. That same year I see courageous college student Diane Nash and seminarian John Lewis leading a wave of sit-ins at lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee. They connected their faith traditions to their activism and struggle for freedom… and the communion table, the eucharistic table, the table where we tell our foundational story for them was also a freedom table.

And as I think of those brave young people on this Holy Thursday, I ask all of us this question:

*In which direction are we looking? Are we looking toward freedom?*

Are we sitting comfortably and restfully at the table? Or do we have our shoes, on our feet and our walking sticks in hand, eating like people who are in flight… ready to create and heed the call, looking toward freedom?

I’m gonna sit at the welcome table… ready to go

*In which direction are we looking? *

Are we looking and bending down, to wash the feet of a neighbor? Or even allowing our own feet to be washed in the ritual…? While feeling other than, feeling above or even feeling disdain for those who are in deep need. Unhoused, underfed, unremembered?

Do we see, as we look at our table, not only who is there, but who is not there? Who is not invited? Who is invited but cannot gain access?

All God’s Children gonna sit together…

*In which direction are we looking? *

Are we looking up, in adoration of Jesus present in the Eucharist? Are we looking up, yet not remembering, as they say in my community, that God sits on high but looks low. And as we read in the biblical book of Exodus, God sees and hears the cries and the oppression of the people. And as we know in our own  time, God sees and hears the bombs of war and the cries of Her children fleeing for their lives.

I’m gonna tell God how you treat me,

*In which direction are we looking? *

On this Holy Thursday let us fix our gaze, let us train our attention toward freedom, toward our neighbors near and far off, toward our Savior and our brother. Who hears our cries and guides our feet.

We sit at the welcome table, let us also set a welcoming table… and be the ones who expand the welcome with courage.

First Reading

Ex 12:1-8, 11-14

PSALM

Ps 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18

Second Reading

1 Cor 11:23-26

GOSPEL

Jn 13:1-15
Read texts at usccb.org

Dr. Kim R. Harris

Dr. Kim R. Harris

Kim R. Harris is Assistant Professor of African American Thought and Practice in the Department of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. She holds a Ph.D. in Worship and the Arts from Union Theological Seminary, New York City. Dr. Harris is a member of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium and the North American Academy of Liturgy. While pursuing her Ph.D., she composed Welcome Table: A Mass of Spirituals. Welcome Table is a featured complete Mass setting in the second edition of the Black Catholic hymnal, Lead Me Guide Me and the Gather Hymnal 4th Edition (GIA Publications Inc.). Her current research concerns Black Catholic liturgy in a time of changing parish demographics and consolidations, as well as the need to diversify available liturgical resources for worship.

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