Holy Week begins with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem for the Passover celebrations. Amid the cheering throngs, of people gathered to greet Jesus, there are undertones of fear and doubt, joy and sorrow, risk and danger. It is tempting to ignore these undertones and the risk involved in following Jesus as he is drawn ever closer to the end of his earthly life. If we skip blithely from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, missing the poignancy of Good Friday and the lessons of the way of the cross, we miss something of the extreme joy the disciples experienced in the risen Christ.
Maundy Thursday is one day before Good Friday (the Friday before Easter). Maundy Thursday is the name given to the day on which Jesus celebrated the
Passover with His disciples, known as the Last Supper. Two important
events are the focus of Maundy Thursday:
First, Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples and thereby instituted the Lord’s Supper, also called Communion (Luke 22:19-20).
Second, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet as an act of humility and service, thereby setting an example that we should love and serve one another in humility (John 13:3-17). The word Maundy is derived from the Latin word for “command.” and refers to the command Jesus gave to the disciples at the Last Supper, that they should love and serve one another.
Good Friday is the Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday. It commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus. The Passion is the theological term used for the events and suffering – physical, spiritual, and mental – of Jesus in the hours before and including his trial and execution. It is known as Good Friday because Christians believe that Jesus gave up his life for the good of everyone.
In this Holy Week and Easter season may we be aware of God’s promise of new life revealed in the risen Christ. In these coming weeks and months, as we remember the experiences of Jesus’ disciples and the early Christian communities of faith, may we ask ourselves what signs of the living Christ do we see in our own lives.
May our lives be blessed and may we remember that Christ lives and breathes and works through us. Wherever we are, whatever we do in Christ’s name, we will always be connected to each other in love, in faith and in hope.