“Do you understand what I have done? You call me your teacher and Lord, and you should, because that is who I am. And if your Lord and teacher has washed your feet, you should do the same for each other. I have set the example, and you should do for each other exactly what I have done for you..”John 13:12-15
For the past six years or so, we started our tradition of Visita Iglesia every Holy Thursday and I always look forward to it every year. It's one way of celebrating Holy Week by visiting old churches and praying the fourteen stations of the Cross.
Holy Thursday marks the end of the forty days of Lent. Holy Thursday is the day that we Catholics commemorate the institution of three pillars of the Catholic Faith: the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the priesthood, and the Mass. During the Last Supper, Christ blessed the bread and wine with the very words that Catholic and Orthodox priests use today to consecrate the Body and Blood of Christ during the Mass and the Divine Liturgy. In telling His disciples to "Do this in remembrance of Me," He instituted the Mass and made them the first priests. And it's the beginning of the three day celebration of Easter. We call it the Maundy Thursday. Maundy is a Latin word "mandatum" which means a commandment. It was during the Last Supper that Jesus commanded:
'And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.' John 13:34
The washing of the feet represents represents the service and charity of Christ, who came "not to be served, but to serve." It reminds us of the tradition that of spring cleaning, that we have to be clean, both in body and mind to welcome the glorious celebration of Easter.
Here's wishing you all a Holy and Blessed Maundy Thursday!