Maundy Thursday

Exodus 12.1-14; Ps 115; I Corinthians 11.23-26; John 13.1-15

The Eucharist is the meal of a people on the march, not a leisurely banquet. Priestly vestments are outdoor clothing; when the Bishop celebrates wearing his coat and hat, carrying his walking stick, the point is inescapable.  Even the name mass, from the Latin word missa, cognate with the familiar word dismissal, is redolent of action. 

This stems from the prescriptions of the Passover: ‘You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand.  You shall eat it hastily.’  It is a meal unlike any other, meat roughly pulled from the carcass, served with a slab of unleavened bread and a mess of bitter greenery.  

Yet care is taken in the choice of unblemished animals, their proper slaughter.  Even leftovers must be properly disposed of.  Most significantly, everyone who is to eat the Passover must be prepared, cleansed outwardly and inwardly.  And when the Lord and Master of the feast himself strips off his outer garments and kneels slave-like to wash the feet of his disciples, the Perfect Love that over and over calls his people out of darkness into light, out of slavery into freedom, out of death to Life that is worthy of the name, is seen uniquely and unmistakeably. 

Posted in Daily Reflection.