April 9, 2009 - Maundy Thursday

Today’s Reading: St. John 13: 1-35

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 12:1-28; Hebrews 5:1-14

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just as I have loved y’all, you should love one another.” (St. John 13:34)

In the Name of Jesus. Amen. Mandatum novum. “A new command-ment I give to you.” That’s the mandate or “Maundy” in Maundy Thursday: Jesus’ new command to love one another as He has loved us.

Jesus’ hour had come. He knew that Judas was going to betray Him soon. Jesus had just a few short hours left before He would show you just how much He loves you--by dying for you.

There is only one person you truly love all the time. Today is a good day to confess it. You love yourself more than anyone else. Sure, you may love others, but only as long as they are with the program of loving you above everything else like you do.

Don’t believe me? I can prove it. Try to listen to someone you “love” talk. Are you listening? Really? Or are you thinking of ways to interject your own opinions and ideas? Who do you love more? Yourself or them?

Today, fast from loving yourself above all others and fix your eyes on the Love that doesn’t end: Jesus’ love for you, His own. He loves you to the end. His end is the Cross, where He suffers and dies for your self-centered love.

Tonight, Jesus shows you just how He loves you. He puts a towel around His waist to clean the feet of others. He’s the teacher, yet he washes the disciples’ icky, stinky, feet.

He has everything and He would serve them? Yes, that’s how He loves! His salvation, His life, comes by His serving you, not the other way around. He gives, He sacrifices, He bleeds, He dies for you.

You receive what He has done for--in the waters of your Baptism, in the Supper of the Lord, by the Word, you are cleansed by His love. Then, all squeaky-clean by His washing, you are given His new command to love others. But don’t love them like you love yourself. Love them by serving them. Care for them, forgive them, listen to them, and meet their needs.

Mandatum novum. Mandate (Maundy) Thursday begins the Holy Tridiuum, the three days of the pious observance of the death of Christ. Fix your eyes on Christ’s love for you--love which isn’t self-centered, but loves you until His end on the Cross. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

O Lord, in this wondrous Sacrament You have left us a remembrance of Your passion. Grant that we may so receive the sacred mystery of Your body and blood that the fruits of Your redemption may continually be manifest in us; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (Collect for Maundy Thursday)