Maundy Thursday begins the Triduum, the holiest celebration in the Catholic church. Many people do not know this. The Triduum begins with the footwashing where Jesus shows by example how we are to love one another, moves to the crucifixion where he shows us again how to love one another, and culminates with Easter and the resurrection when Love is revealed anew. These are holy days and I have loved them since my young adult days. I am grateful to those who introduced me to the richness of these rituals and celebrations.
Maundy is from the Latin mandatum which means commandment. Tonight in John’s Gospel as he gives them a humble example of service, Jesus will ask the disciples to love one another by doing the same. In the synoptic gospels he shares the last supper with them, breaking bread and drinking wine, foreshadowing the Eucharist.
How much do we love those around us? How do we show it? I have been overwhelmed these past few years with expressions of love, manifesting the love of the Trinity. I am not completely sure how to understand it or reconcile that I feel so unworthy sometimes. God’s ways are not our ways though. Turning the world on its head is something God is an expert at. We are not able to predict so much because we do not look at the situation through the eyes of the Divine.
I watched the movie Paul yesterday and the ending was shocking to me. (Spoiler Alert!) After Paul’s beheading, he is welcomed joyfully into heaven by those he persecuted. When I imagine those who will greet me, it is the ones I have loved and who have loved me. In the film, the unexpected happens which is so like God. What if the first people to welcome me to Heaven were those that I had hurt or ignored? Tonight Jesus will invite us to a new way to love and asks us to do as he does. May we pay attention to his command.
Can you accept Jesus’ command to do as he did?
What can you do to show in humble service how to love people?
Kneeling before us, you, Footwasher, invite us to love one another humbly, in service, and without ego. You hold what is dirty and make it clean. You accept the crooked, the worn, and the tired into your hands. We may protest but you proceed. You show us a new way. May we learn to embrace such love both by extending it and receiving it. Amen.