Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-17, (31b-35)
`I give you a new commandment,’ says the Lord, `that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.’
Lord Jesus Christ,
crucified for us,
we kneel at the foot of your cross to watch with you.
Help us to see the cost of our forgiveness
so that we may be made new through your love;
for the glory of your holy name.
It is Maundy Thursday in Holy Week.
Maundy Thursday is the title for Thursday in Holy Week. The word Maundy derives from the Old French word mande via the Latin phrase mandatum novum, which means "A New Commandment" (St.John 13:34). As we read in St.John's Gospel this commandment is associated with the event of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples.
The Last Supper was a re-enactment of the older cherished Jewish event which the Hebrew people knew as the Passover Meal. In the process of their escape from Egypt, the Hebrews were told to sprinkle blood on their door posts so that the Angel of death would ‘passover’ them. They were also told to be ready to run the next morning. They would leave Egypt by way of the Red Sea and head out into the wilderness where they would then spend forty years wandering as nomads, before entering the promised land.
That same salvific (saving) event is enshrined in our liturgies today. We celebrate a re-enactment of the last supper in our Great Thanksgiving. (The Eucharist) If we enter into this celebration in it’s fullest sense, it is not just a simple memorial thing. It is rather a re-enactment. It is as if we are actually there for a vivid encounter with Christ Himself. He is the host.
Once a year, at a Maundy Thursday Passover Meal, (Last Supper) the celebration is immediately followed by foot washing. Just as Jesus washed his disciples feet, so our Faith Community Leadership washes the feet of the faithful. In doing this, we proclaim an ongoing leadership, not of high esteem and power over parishioners, but a servant leadership of humility and service. For Jesus on this night, there lay ahead the arrest and ultimately His crucifixion. The journey towards Easter would see Him wracked with cruelly inflicted pain.
Likewise, we journey on, beset with great difficulty but buoyed with great joy.
This chant was used during the Tenebrae Services streamed by Movement Online which can be viewed here.