"If I washed your feet - I Who am Teacher and Lord - then you must wash each other's feet. What I just did was to give you an example: as I have done, so you must do." -Jn 13:14-15
Thus Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday, is the Thursday of Holy Week, commemorating the Institution of the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Ordination. Holy Thursday also celebrates the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot, events that took place on the night before Jesus' crucifixion. The Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday begins the Triduum, which is the three-day celebration of the heart of the Christian faith: Christ's death and resurrection. The Paschal Triduum begins on the evening of Holy Thursday and concludes with the Evening Prayer (Vespers) of Easter. Thus the Triduum includes Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and reaches it high point at the Great Easter Vigil. The name "Maundy" comes from the Latin antiphon Mandatum Novum, i.e. "a new mandate." This new mandate from Jesus is taken from John 13:34: love one another as I have loved you.
Jesus shared the final meal with his disciples, called the Last Supper, on the night before he was crucified. The institution of the Holy Eucharist occurred during this meal, as indicated from the gospel excerpt below:
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26:26-29 RSV)
Tonight I will have the enormous blessings of going to church and watching as our Pastor washes the feet of 12 people (something I have "feared" being asked because the honor is so great and so humbling...my late husband, Mario, felt the same way when this happened to him many years ago).
From the book "A Gift For God", a small book about Mother Teresa:
"Some weeks back I heard there was a family that had not eaten for some days-a Hindu family-so I took some rice and I went to the family. Before I knew where I was, the mother of the family had divided the rice into two and she took the other half to the next door neighbors, who happened to be a Moslem family. Then I asked her 'How much will all of you have to share? There are ten of you with that bit of rice.' The mother replied 'They have not eaten either.' This is greatness."
Although this is a most solemn and reflective week, I leave you with a smile concerning this last depiction of the the Last Supper. This small version of the Last Supper was purchased many years ago and has (unfortunately) gotten knocked off the wall a few times. Not realizing it, one of the heads at the end came off, probably got picked up, puzzled over, then thrown away...we can only hope it was Judas Iscariot's head!!!
~~~Thank you, dear God, for giving us the blessings of the Bread of Life, may we always show our gratitude.