Jesus is the fulfillment of Judaism and the Temple. CCC Chapter 2
Maundy Thursday, after Spy Wednesday, is a Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter when Jesus celebrated his final Passover ( Last Supper) with His disciples. In many countries the day is known as Holy Thursday and is a public holiday.
Saint Matthew (Mt 26:14-25)
describes the events around Spy Wednesday and the Last Supper as follows:
“One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?”
“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near;
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.””‘
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.
When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply,
“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.””
The word Maundy comes from the latin, ‘mandatum’, or ‘command’ which refers to the instructions Jesus gave his disciples at the Last Supper.
Christ’s “mandate” is commemorated on Maundy Thursday, where “maundy” being a shortened form of mandatum (Latin), which means “command.”
According to the Gospel, Jesus performed a final act of service for his Disciples, following the Passover meal. Arising from the table, He tied a towel about His waist and filled a basin with water. Then, one after another He washed the feet of each disciple, except Judas, who had already departed to betray Him.
When Peter protested that Jesus was about to wash his feet, Christ admonished, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
After washing the Disciples’ feet, Jesus explained what He did and why. “You should wash one another’s feet,” He told them. “I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:1-17)
After the Last Supper and as he was washing the disciples feet He issued a new command, speaking with authority and not like the scribes and Pharisees, after previously denouncing them: “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens [hard to carry] and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,”” (Matt 23)
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).
You know the old cliché; if you knew you had only hours left to do, what would you do? Wash your neighbor’s feet? That’s what Jesus did: wash the Disciples’ feet. A humiliating task, and also personal, almost intimate. That Jesus performed this task as one of His last acts on Earth delivers an important message of how we are supposed to be as Christians. Are we willing to wash the feet of our neighbors?
Do you know of any Captains of Industry willing to do this? How about public servants? You know, like Alexandria Ocasio Cortes ‘ who says she’s the boss.
“Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgment of the Last Day in his preaching. Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light. Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God’s grace as nothing be condemned. Our attitude to our neighbor will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love. On the Last Day Jesus will say: “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” CCC 679
As you can imagine, in the ancient world, at the time of the Last Supper, feet were dirty things. Sandals were common dress, and they often trod unpaved streets that doubled as sewers and channels for every kind of refuse. As a result, having clean feet, especially when entering a place, was important.
The ancient world knew nothing of germs, but understood the importance of cleanliness, as it was instructed to them in the holy texts of the time. So, so washing my neighbors feet today is not that big of a deal.
Read More: Maundy Thursday, Time For New Commandment