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Jesus Mafa Foot Washing

Maundy

Jesus Mafa Foot Washing

The day before Good Friday is called Maundy Thursday. Maundy comes from the Latin word: mandatum. Mandatum means something that is commanded. We find it in an English word like “mandatory” – something that is required.

It is called Maundy Thursday because on that day Jesus commanded three things: 1) to remember him in holy communion with bread and wine 2) to love others as Jesus loves us and 3) to humbly wash each other’s feet.

Maundy, mandatum, mandatory – we are thinking about commands, rules, about laws.

I think there are at least two types of rules, two types of laws. I’ll call them “Type 1 laws” and “Type 2 laws”.

Type 1 laws are rules we make up ourselves. Like the rules we make up to play a game – WE design the rules; these are a human construct.

Type 2 laws are laws of the universe, rules of reality. We don’t make them up. We discover them. [Clearly, theists believe that these are rules that God has made up].

So do you get my distinction? The changes to the scrum rules in rugby – that’s about Type 1 laws. The way that a rugby ball bounces on the field – that’s physics, Type 2 laws.

Now, some people get really intense about the Type 1 laws – the rules we make up ourselves. Tinker with them, change them, at your peril!

I suggest that Jesus, if you pay attention to his overall story, to the big picture of what he was on about, I suggest he had little to no concern about our human, made-up Type 1 laws. He wanted to get across, though his life and teaching, the Type 2 laws of the universe; the Type 2 laws of reality.

And so Jesus upset the people, most of us, who focus on the Type 1 laws; who get irate if someone starts questioning or tinkering with our Type 1 laws. Jesus so upset people that they did away with him. They got rid of him.

But Easter proclaims that even in his death Jesus revealed, Jesus manifested, the deep-down Type 2 laws of the universe, of reality.

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1 thought on “Maundy”

  1. Thank you, Bosco, for this Holy Thursday reflection. I think of Peter’s refusal to have his feet washed by Jesus was rooted in his unwillingness to let the smell of his feet (sins?) to offend the nostrils of The One who was offering His cleansing ritual.

    I think the Church still has some of this reluctance to admit that we, too, are sinners in need of cleansing, forgiveness and redemption.

    The Good News is, that the Mandatum calls all of us, unconditionally, to experience the cleansing therapy of Jesus – without nay prior ritual, other than to admit our need of being cleansed.

    This reluctance, I believe, is at the heart of the Church’s unwillingness to accept all and sundry to the mercy and forgiveness of a loving and bountiful God – whose generosity in giving is infinitely more than we can ever imagine.

    To have one’s feet washed can be an incomparable experience of God’s love for us. This is why it is included in the rituals of the Church – to remind us of our unworthiness – in the face of God’s infinite mercy as shown in the face of Jesus Christ.

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