Thursday, April 2, 2015

Maundy Thursday - Mass of the Lord's Supper

Maundy Thursday - the Mass of the Lord's Supper - the beginning of the High Triduum of Easter. But what does it all mean? Why is Pope Francis washing feet? What is so special about this day?

"If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me."

Before the Passover Supper began, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples - the seeds of the clergy. He humbled Himself to serve, and to teach an important lesson about service. That is why the priest will wash the feet of his fellow priests, or others symbolizing various services within the Church, But Maundy Thursday is not really about foot washing - and even the foot washing is not really about foot washing...

The foot washing is a symbol of our Baptism - when we were washed with water - washed as a Promise. At Baptism, we are washed of original Sin - we are given a spiritual "new life" - we are reborn in Christ - we are made a part of the Church, the Body of Christ. At Baptism, we are Sealed - we are made His.

"I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God."

On Maundy Thursday, we honor and reflect on the Last Supper. Maundy comes from the Latin word Mandatum - which means mandate. It signifies the new commandment Jesus gave us at His Last Supper:

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." - John 13:34

That mandate - that commandment - is a cornerstone of our faith. To love one another as He loved us.


Perfectly.  Completely. Sacrificially. 

Can I love perfectly? But I can strive, I can love - and pray to love better, and have God's Grace make up for my failings.

Can I love completely? Mmm...again, no. I may think I am loving completely, but I cannot see completely to love completely, But I can love as best I can - and pray to love better, and have God's Grace make up for my failings.

Can I love sacrificially? Mmm... sometimes. I have loved and sacrificed for my love - but I have not sacrificed a lot more. So I pray to love better, and have God's Grace make up for my failings.

I have a lot to pray for...

Jesus loved us enough to endure Crucifixion for us - but even more, he loved us enough to take on the burden of ALL our sins during that Crucifixion. So that we would be washed clean of  our sins. He loved us enough to endure the penalty of our sins - He descended into Hell, so that we would not. He loved us enough to break the bonds of eveil on our behalf - because we are too weak to do it on our own. He loved us enough to shed his blood...

"And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come."

At the Last Supper, Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples - his closest friends. Knowing one would betray him, knowing we would all fail him - but still loving us enough to overcome our betrayals, our failings.

"And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."

The Last Supper is commemorated every week at Mass - at the Celebration of the Eucharist. Eukharistia is the Greek for thankfulness, for gratitude- the Lord's Supper is, in a way, a Solemn Feast of Thanksgiving. At Communion we - I - partake in the ultimate act of love, Jesus' complete and utter sacrifice for us. For me. Jesus becomes the Paschal Lamb - His body becomes the sacrifice, His blood washes our sins away.