Am reposting this, with Just these few words of Introduction:
These are ‘Religious’ Festivals. Not just to be ‘Celebrated.’ They have to make a Difference in Our Lives.
As We are in Maundy Thursday, it would be good to review it, see What Maundy Thursday is, and reflect on its Meaning and Significance. The New word used for the Feast is: ‘Holy Thursday.’
I Distinctly remember singing these Latin words on this day when I was Young, (You know that those were days before We had come back to Local languages!):
We know the word ‘Mandatory.’ Something Commanded, that Has to be Carried out, a Law. All these come from the Latin word ‘Mandatum,’ from which is derived ‘Maundy,’ and thus the name.
It is generally accepted that Jesus died on a Friday. Maundy Thursday precedes Good Friday, and is A Very Important Festival.
The Original Maundy Thursday was the day when Our Lord Jesus had celebrated His Last Supper. That Meal In Itself was in Memory of the Jewish ‘Pasch,’ the Passover, commemorating the Lord passing over the Israelites when the very sons of the Egyptians were being killed, and their Passing through the Red Sea under the leadership of Moses.
Jesus, in His turn, Effected many Important points of Christianity during the Last Supper.
- Jesus Instituted The Blessed Eucharist.
- He Instituted The Christian Priesthood.
- He Established that The Meaning of Christianity is To Serve.
All these are Very Important Elements of Christianity, and thus Maundy Thursday if one of the Most Important Festivals for Christians.
The Blessed Eucharist.
These words Signify two things; namely, what are popularly known as: A. the Communion, whose name, More properly would be – The Eucharist, and B. the Mass which would be Better called – The Celebration of the (Institution of the) Eucharist.
A. The Eucharist
Could this tiny piece of bread be The Very Body of Christ?
The Institution of the Eucharist is described in Four places in the Bible.
- Matthew 26:26-28,
- Mark 14:22-24,
- Luke 22:17-20, and
- 1 Corinthians 11:23-25.
In Every account, Christ Jesus said, or we could say – Used the Words: “This is My Body.”
Regarding the Sacred Wine, in Every account He used the words: “My Blood.”
The People of those times were used to buying Meat which had been offered to ‘gods.’ IN NO CASE was that meat known or called as the ‘body of that god.’
Paul makes it Clear that Jesus has Meant those words, namely: ‘My Body,’ and ‘My Blood,’ as We see in the same 1 Corinthians verses 27 and 29.
And That is Why, From the Very Words in and Of the Bible, We have that the Bread, known as the ‘Host,’ is Changed, ‘Substantially,‘ in its Very Substance. And the same holds True for the Sacred Wine. After the words of the Institution, We No longer have ‘bread’ or ‘wine’ but Christ Jesus Himself.
And I see NO Reason to think or believe that Christ intended to ‘Leave’ the Host. That is Why We (Catholic Christians) Worship Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
The Celebration of the (Institution of the) Eucharist.
Jesus had wanted, and had told His Disciples, to ‘Continue to Celebrate His Institution of His Body and Blood.’ His words, “Do this in memory of Me,” are found in Both Luke 22:19 and 1 Corinthians 11:25. Just as His Command to Love, I would like to take this as Mandatory too! Maundy – Thursday!
This brings Us to the Need for The Priesthood.
The Early Disciples were used to the Practice of ‘The Breaking of the Bread.” A study of the usage of these words will show Us that they stood for The Celebration of the Eucharist. See Acts 2:42,46; 20:7,11; 27:35 and Luke 24:30,35. As also 1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:24; Luke 22:19 and 24:35, etc.
YET, The Breaking of the Bread was carried out (Only) by the Leaders of the church. The Disciples merely “Took part in the fellowship, and Shared in the fellowship Meals,” Acts 2:42.
Writing to Timothy, already a Leader in the church, Paul says: “Be in No Hurry to Lay hands on someone to Dedicate him to the Lord’s service.” (1 Timothy 5:22).
From all this, going back to the Original Maundy Thursday, We see that our Lord Desired, we can even say Commanded, that the Celebration of the Institution of the Eucharist be Continued. This His Desire and Command Instituted The Christian Priesthood.
All these points of Theology are contained in the celebration of Maundy Thursday! And there is More!
Christianity is Service.
Among one more of the Teachings of this Holy, Maundy Thursday is that To Be a Christian means Being of Service to Others, Serving Others.
NO Buses in those times, and even animals like Mules were Not the Common Man’s lot. So moving from one place to another meant Trudging countless miles, and Israel is a pretty hilly country. Those who could afford it had Servants who would Not just Wash the feet, but give it a rub, a massage etc, at the end of the day.
And This was what Jesus had done. Washed those Dirty feet. No Socks in those days. The Grime and the Sweat would have worked Into the pores, and must have created a goodly smell. That was what Jesus washed.
Jesus had said: “You call Me Teacher and Lord… (If) I Your Lord and Teacher, have washed Your feet, You Should Wash One Another’s feet. I have set an Example for You, so that You will do Just What I have done.” (John 13:13-15, passim, TEV).
Let us consider the word ‘Christian.’ It means: ‘Another Christ.’ Jesus’ Command to Love had So taken Root in those Early followers of His, and They had followed the Injunction So Well, that, it is said, people used to point to them and say: ‘There walks Another Christ.’
If We want to be Christians, We have to Learn to Serve, as Deeply, Meaningfully, and Sincerely as HE did. A Small part of one’s Income given to the Poor, How much can that count?
Our Life At Home, In the Office and On the Street has to Totally Other Oriented. Only that would be Serving As He did.
We have become used to considering Christmas, Good Friday and Easter are Our Most Important Festivals. We see that Maundy Thursday is an Extremely Important one too, one that presents Sacred Mysteries which deserve Our Greatest Attention.