The law for the Passover meal.
A reading from the Book of Exodus (Exodus 12:1-8. 11-14)
In those days: The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they shall take every man a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household; and if the household is too small for a lamb, then a man and his neighbour next to his house shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old; you shall take it from the sheep or from the goats; and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the evening. Then they shall take some of the blood, and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat them. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. “In this manner you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you, upon the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as an ordinance for ever.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 116: 12- 13. 15 and 16bc. 17- 18 (R. ct. I Cor. 10:16)
R/. The cup of blessing is a participation in the blood of Christ.
How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?
The cup of salvation I will raise;
I will call on the name of the Lord. R/.
How precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful.
Your servant am I, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosened my bonds. R/.
A thanksgiving sacrifice I make;
I will call on the name of the Lord.
My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people. R/.
“As often as you eat this bread and drink the chalice, you proclaim the Lord’s death.”
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
Brethren: I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the chalice, after supper, saying, “This chalice is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the chalice, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
The word of the Lord.
VERSE BEFORE THE GOSPEL John 13:34
Glory and praise to you, O Christ. A new commandment I give to you, says the Lord, that you love one another even as I have loved you. Glory and praise to you, O Christ.
“He loved them to the end”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 13: 1-15)
Before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “You are not all clean.” When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 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.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
The English word ‘Maundy’ comes from the Latin mandatum which means ‘command’. And the reason why Maundy Thursday is called it because the Church celebrates this as the day on which Jesus gives His love command. What Jesus is in effect doing is summarizing His entire life. In bending down to wash the feet of the disciples in John13:1-13, Jesus brings together all that He was, all that He is doing. And so, on this Maundy Thursday, we are called, through this event of the washing of the feet to ask ourselves some serious questions and the first of these is, “Is there a separation between my being and my doing; Do I expect something in return for my love? Is my relationship with people a matter of “You give me, I give you”? Is it a matter of how much I can get out of this person, rather than how much I can give? Even as Jesus washes the feet of Judas and Peter, He is loving, forgiving and accepting them. This is true meaning of forgiveness, it is the true meaning of love, it is the true meaning of Maundy Thursday