Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday

It’s Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday and for the millions of Catholics from all over the country and the world, where devout Catholics more often than not… walk to at least seven churches within their town or city for this very solemn Catholic tradition. Lest you have already forgotten, Holy Thursday teaches us very important lessons, which have become doctrines of the Catholic Church.

Allow me to talk about the tradition of the institution of the Holy Eucharist, the institution of the Holy Orders and all these is preceded by the washing of the feet of the 12 Apostles. All these are “gifts” by God himself through the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. The washing of the feet by our Lord Jesus Christ is very significant as written in John 13: 1-7.

I love the conversation between Jesus and Simon Peter when this event was happening, when Jesus came before Simon Peter, Simon asked the Lord, “Master, are you going to wash my feet? Jesus replied, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” Then Peter replied, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus then replied to Peter, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” Peter then replied, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”

For me, this singular act of humility by our Lord Jesus is revolutionary of sorts because leaders or masters have their feet washed by their servants or slaves. But not in this case, where the Master washed the feet of his 12 Apostles… something that they did not expect because it was clearly an act of humility. Today, you will never see world leaders (except the Pope) do this act of humility with their political underlings… as the teaching of Christianity is unfortunately no longer in vogue even in countries that used to be Christian nations.

The greatest gift of Holy Thursday is the institution of the Holy Eucharist, when our Lord broke the bread and gave it to his disciples and said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Jesus also did the same to the wine, which through the process of transubstantiation, truly becomes the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Few Christians realize that, it is for this very reason why the first miracle made by our Lord Jesus Christ was turning the water into wine at the bequest of his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is for this very reason why we read about the feeding of the 5,000, not counting women and children… because this event is relived in all our churches during the Holy Communion.

Finally lest we have also forgotten, Holy Thursday brings us the Holy Orders or the institution of the sacrament of the priesthood. In the last supper, our Lord Jesus Christ offers himself as the Passover sacrifice, God’s sacrificial and unblemished lamb and teaches his apostles and disciples to follow the same sacrifice of the Holy Mass, which began during the last Supper and continues all over the world where the Holy Mass is celebrated.

On Holy Thursday, Bishops and priests from all over the world would come together to celebrate the institution of the priesthood in a holy mass were the bishops bless the new Oil for Chrism that would be used for baptism, confirmation and the anointing of the sick or dying. At this point, we continue to reflect the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. But remember the Cross doesn’t end in death, but in resurrection!