Maundy derives from the Latin word, “mandatum”, meaning law or commandment. The second greatest commandment that Jesus gave us after “You shall love the Lord, Your God, with all your heart, soul, and mind”, is to “love your neighbor as yourself”.
Jesus offered us a great example by washing the feet of His Apostles. Most of us get uncomfortable when it comes to the idea of feet and seeing other people’s feet. I know at times I do. Imagine what they looked like during the time Jesus cleaned His Apostles’ feet… crusty, dusty, and possibly even filth underneath their uncut toenails. But in spite of all that, Jesus still got on His knees and used His own hands and water to clean their dirty feet. Why would our Precious Lord and Savior clean the dirtiest of feet? Simple. Because He loved.
Think of a time when you had to clean someone else’s feet. Maybe it was for a sick grandparent or a little brother or sister who finished playing outside without shoes on. It may have been uncomfortable and even disgusting, but you proceeded anyhow because you loved them and wanted to take care of them. You may not have realized it then, but looking back at it makes all the sense in the world. That care you possessed was rooted in love. Through that particular example, we see the type of community or family that Jesus desired to create. Also, He wanted to use the example of washing another’s feet not only as a sign of humility/servanthood, but even as a source of intimacy.
During Mass, we share the same Bread that is broken for us and drink the Wine from the same chalice because of that emphasis on intimacy. It’s like sharing a sandwich or soda with siblings or with a spouse; we don’t hesitate in sharing because there is an understanding that we’re family… no big deal. That is why we, best friends or strangers, are called to share in the One Body and One Cup of our Lord. Regardless of age, race, or social status, the bond remains.
After reflecting on everything that’s supposed to happen tonight, what really spoke out to me is the concept of this intimate relationship with others; the family that we’re all supposed to be as brothers and sisters in Christ, as promised through our Baptismal vows and the vows we renew every year during Easter. As we continue reflecting on The Last Supper, may we also pray for the grace to love our brothers and sisters, willingly accepting any instances where we might have to wash their feet.