We commemorate quite a lot of things on Maundy Thursday. Jesus washed His disciple’s feet, giving them–and us–the “mandate” (maundate; hence, “Maundy”) to love one another. Then He gave them His body and His blood in bread and wine, thereby making clear the meaning of what was about to happen (“this is my body given for you”; “this is my blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”), ensuring that His followers would continue on as a Church (“do this in remembrance of me”), establishing His continual presence with them (“this is my body. . .my blood), and instituting the means by which His followers are incorporated with Him and receive the promise of the Gospel (“given for you”). Later, Jesus prays for His Church, for His disciples and for those in the future who will believe because of their testimony–that is to say, us. Then Judas betrays Him, He is arrested, arraigned before Herod, and Peter denies Him. And the rest unfolds.
The events of Maundy Thursday are all for the benefit of His followers–washing their feet, exhorting them to love each other, giving them His body and blood in an ongoing sacrament, praying for them–whereupon one of those followers betrays Him, another denies Him, and the rest run away. [Read more…]