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.
- Sacred Triduum
- Maundy Thursday
- Maundy Wednesday?
- Pope Francis Illustrates Who Are God’s People
- Holy Week/Easter resources