Maundy Thursday, April 17

Reading: John 13:1-17, 31-35

Begin with the above centering prayer, by Peter Traben Haas, as you reflectively read today’s Scriptures.

The word maundy comes from the Latin mandautum or “commandment,” referring to the new commandment Jesus gave his disciples in the upper room—to love one another as he had loved them (John 13:34). When he knew that he had all authority he washed their feet (John 13:3-5). Then Jesus celebrated the Jewish Passover in a way that made the bread and wine our Christian Passover, the sign of the new covenant established through his death and resurrection. As we recall the “night when he was betrayed” (1 Cor. 11:23) the liturgy asks us to see our own sin as the betrayal of Christ—to come to the table no better than Judas with whom Jesus shared bread. When we eat the bread and take the cup we are saying: Jesus’ death was for me. I accept the fact that I am now reconciled through the sacrifice of Jesus. On this night we come face to face with the fact that our peace with God does not come through our moral goodness, but only through Jesus’ death. At the end of the service the altar is stripped, symbolizing the stripping of Jesus’ garments for his crucifixion. All signs of life and color are taken away.

———— See Palm Sunday Reflection Below ————