“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body.” (26)
Maundy Thursday observance focuses on two primary religious acts that are portrayed in the biblical accounts of the Last Supper. One is washing of feet and the other one is Holy Communion.
WASHING THE FEETThe narrative of washing the feet serves an important purpose for St. John to introduce the disciples and readers to the passion of Jesus. For Jesus washing the feet is an expression of love (Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with oil (Mt.26:7). If washing the feet is separated from the cross, then it ceases to have meaning, and it can become idolatrous gesture. It was a preview of what Jesus was doing on the cross and it was a part of the redemptive work of Jesus (Phil 2:6-8). Many had a custom of the re-enactment of the washing of feet as an annual ritual on Maundy Thurs day, but it is much harder to follow the ways of the cross and to develop an attitude of humility. If the master had only the path of the cross before Him, would the disciples have anything different? Washing the feet has to be seen in its redemptive sense and our lives have to be ordered on that model.
HOLY COMMUNIONJesus established the Holy Communion at the time of the Passover meal. In the partaking of the Lord’s Supper we experience the past, present and future. In the past tense, we go back in faith through the centuries to the cross, as if we were present at Christ’s crucifixion. As we enter in faith to that historical saving event, something happens to our present. We are having an intimate communion with the living Christ by participating in this meal with Him. It is not the memory of a dead hero that we commemorate, but we have an intimate and real relationship with a living Christ. As we partake of Lord’s Supper, we get a foretaste of the future celebration in the kingdom of God. We look forward to that day in future in hope for the perfection and consummation of our relationship with Christ.
Let us have the attitude of humility, accepting and loving each other that our Lord showed on the Last Supper. Let us participate in the Lord’s table to remember the salvation that Jesus brought, to establish a new relationship and to experience the foretaste of the future celebration.
Prayer: Lord help to understand the true meaning of your word and to follow You more dearly.
Rev. Mathew George, Salem MTC, NY