The Commandment

Happy Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday!

Why is it called Maundy Thursday? The title of this Thursday actually comes from this line: “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos.” Translated, it means, “I give you a new commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you.” And “maundy” is short for “mandatum,” which means commandment.

Here’s the gospel for today:

NABRE

John 13

1Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, 3fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, 4he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” 8Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.” 10Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.” 11For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”12So when he had washed their feet [and] put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? 13You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. 14If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. 15I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.

For today, I’d like to feature this artwork, if only because I adore the gentleness in Jesus’s face as Peter argues with Him:

Christ Washing the Disciples' Feet, by Bernhard Strigel, c. 1520s. Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
Christ Washing the Disciples’ Feet, by Bernhard Strigel, c. 1520s. Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany.

It looks like Peter is arguing with Jesus and demanding Jesus to bathe all of him, not just his feet, if it’s really that necessary. But, Jesus doesn’t seem to mind Peter’s talk. Instead, He explains gently what He really means and waits for Peter to allow Him to bathe his feet.

And I think that’s very important to note: the gentleness of Christ when He comes into our lives and asks us to change for Him. I know that when I go to adoration, I am constantly reminded of that gentleness in the Presence of the Sacrament, and it just floors me every time.

This is especially true since I tend to argue with God during adoration. A lot. There are times that I am very obstinate and annoyed and maybe even angry(!) with God for doing things His way instead of my way! What can I say? It’s like He’s God or something and doesn’t want to be ruled by my petty tyranny!

And yet, even though sometimes I am annoyed or angry with God, He is patient and kind and always willing to wait for me to turn around. There is a gentleness in going to Him that I don’t experience anywhere else. And I am reminded that this is the sort of love and patience that I need to treat everyone… my husband, my children, my neighbors, the world… everyone.

After all, that was His commandment — to love everyone as He loves us.

 

Dear Jesus,

Help me to love others as You love me.

Amen.

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