This week's reading tells us in clear, compelling words where the Christian life begins and ends, where the church finds its purpose. It’s not with condemnation; it’s with love. It’s a commandment from Christ. It’s a gift, and it is new. What an interesting collection of descriptors.
Holy Week | Maundy Thursday (Year A Year B Year C)
Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14 (Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19); 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Apparently the term “Maundy Thursday” comes from the Latin phrase “mandatum novum” meaning “new commandment.” The reference is to John 13, which features the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, followed by his statement about a new commandment he has given them, to love one another. We actually reached this passage in my class on the Gospel of John yesterday, and had an interesting discussion about whether this commandment is “new,” and if so, in what sense.
Offering the elements to the unbaptized can be seen as a development and not a revolution, but it is a significant change. Is it a good one?