Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bishop’s Note: March 24, 2016 – Maundy Thursday

Bishop Eric Menees

Maundy Thursday is a High Holy Day in the church, and is sometimes misunderstood. People often think that the term “Maundy” comes from the root “maudlin,” meaning sorrowful and self-pitying. And it is true that this evening we will hear some sad words from Jesus: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:15) A blessed Holy Week to you all! This evening, all across the Diocese of San Joaquin, brothers and sisters will be gathering for their Maundy Thursday liturgies. 

However the word “Maundy” actually comes from the Latin Mandatum Novum, meaning “New Commandment.” It refers to what Jesus says in the gospel of John: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34) 

Maundy Thursday is a time to remember that we are called to be different than the world around us. As we recover from the shock of such evil - like that which was recently unleashed in Brussels, Belgium - we as Christians must respond to such hatred with love. While these extremists and terrorists spread hatred and fear, we must spread a sacrificial love that reflects the sacrificial love of Jesus.

It was Jesus who greeted his disciples with a wash-basin and cloths to wash their feet. In humility, he showed love and respect. So too let us pledge that same kind of humility, that same kind of love and respect, so that the world around us will know that we are Christians!

A blessed Holy Week and Easter to you all!

Catechism Questions: 264 - 266

264. How does God prepare you to begin living his Law?
Through faith, repentance and Baptism, God in grace washes away my sin, gives me his Holy Spirit, and makes me a member of Christ, a child of God, and an heir of the Kingdom of Heaven. (Acts 22:16; Titus 3:4-8)

265. How does the Church help you to live out God’s law?
The Church exercises godly authority and discipline over me through the ministry of baptismal sponsors, clergy, and other teachers. (Romans 15:1-7; 2 Timothy 3:14-15; Hebrews 13:7, 17)

266. How does the Lord’s Supper enable you to continue learning and living God’s Law?
In the Lord’s Supper or Holy Eucharist, I hear the Law read, hear God’s good news of forgiveness, recall my baptismal promises, have my faith renewed, and receive grace to follow Jesus in the ways of God’s Laws and in the works of his Commandments.

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