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Holy Thursday and the New Commandment

Jesus’ actions on Holy Thursday were revolutionary and radical.  They are meant to shock our consciences.  Indeed, St. Peter was so shocked he exclaimed, “You shall never wash my feet.” (Jn. 13:8)  His sensibilities were offended that the Messiah, the very Son of God, would perform the actions of a typical household slave of those days.  Jesus turned the world upside down.  True greatness would no longer be measured in money, power and social status, but in simple humble service to our fellow man, as Jesus taught them, “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Mt. 23:10)

It was in the Cenacle in Jerusalem that Thursday night that Jesus faced His imminent death.  Just hours from His Passion and Crucifixion – this supreme moment in His life – all of His words and actions in the Upper Room carried special meaning and weight.  Jesus waited until this moment at the Last Supper to institute the Eucharist and Holy Orders.  In this intimate setting with His closest friends and Apostles, Jesus washes their feet, and gives us the Mandatum, or the mandate, the new commandment.  As John tells us:

Jesus “rose from supper, laid aside His garments, and girded Himself with a towel.  Then He poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” (Jn. 13:4-5)

Following the washing of the disciples’ feet, Jesus says, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (Jn. 13:14-15)

Read more at Catholic Exchange 

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