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Welcome to Holy Thursday!

alec vanderboom

Today is one of my favorite moments in the Catholic church. My family does a Christian Seder. We have a Benjamin Family Haggadah. I make the lamb and the Seder plate. My husband buys the wine for us adults and the grape juice for the kids. He makes sure that we all wear our sandals to dinner. I'm an actor at heart. I get to tell the stories of Moses, Elijah, and Jesus' Last Supper.

Passover is about sharing your faith with your family. One of the treasures in my heart is that a tradition that I started alone while I was a single girl in College, is now shared with my husband and my children. I remember the toast that my husband said "Next year in Jerusalem!" the pre-Easter of 2002. He said that toast with such joy and hope a few weeks before he finished graduate school.

Today we were coming home from buying the lamb for Passover. My 10 year old son Alex said in the, "Now guys, we have to put the lamb's blood on the door so that I get to save my life!"

We'd played April Fool's Day Tricks on each other all day. I shrugged my shoulders and said "Oh, Alex, we don't need to bother with that part anymore."


"This year, John is here. We now have an extra boy in case you go."

There was a second of pause. Then I said "April Fool's Day! Alex, you are irreplaceable to us!"

My son let me tickle his hair. Then five of us let out this beautiful laugh in the car. "This year, John is here!" For the first time in 10 years Alex won't be the only son at the Passover table. The gift of Baby John is amazing. We finally had a son who lived. It's the yearly tradition of Passover that lets us all take those mental snapshots and rejoice in the changes of our family.

I like to feed my kids Scripture at the dinner table. Either Jon or I read a short passage from the Bible while the family is eating dinner. Then we usually talk about it. (This way of hearing Scripture is a Carmelite tradition, but it is also very practical. When small kids are chewing, they are more likely to sit still and less likely to interrupt. I also like the image of feeding my kids physically and spiritually at the same time.)

Last night we read about the Last Supper from Matthew. "And he reclined at table." I took a second out to explain that in Ancient Roman times people sat on couches when they ate dinner. My almost First Communion Recipient said "Mom, the picture is wrong!" She meant the Leonardo da Vinici painting of the Last Supper. I told her that she was right! That painting was made by an artist almost 1500 years after the Last Supper and his best guess about the table wasn't very accurate. We also talked about how silly it was to have all 13 guests sit on only one side of the table. Maria and I decided to look it up today and draw our own version of the Last Supper.

In my 7 year old's eyes, this image for the Last Supper is wrong.

This image for the Last Supper is right.

I love the comparison of the two. The second table seems really intimate. It feels like getting to hang out with Jesus at a Slumber Party. It's also so shocking that Judas lied to Jesus right inside his personal space. "Surely, not I Rabbi?" My family had a lot of fun joking around about other possible ways Jesus could have answered Judas. "You've hung out with me for 3 years. You've seen me heal the blind and get dead people talk! What else do I need to do to convince you that I am the Son of God!"

Today we will celebrate the Last Supper with a Christian Seder at home. I hope to go pray at Adoration tonight. We have lonely Good Friday, and quiet Easter Saturday, and then the joy of Easter Vigil.