Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday)
Thursday before Easter
Maundy Thursday is the Thursday in the Holy Week before Easter on which the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist are commemorated. On this day we celebrate that Jesus gave the Eucharist to us. He celebrates the Last Supper with His apostles.
Jesus knows that He will die on the cross the next day. On that last night of His life, out of love for us, He gives the Apostles (and therefore us) a "parting gift"; He gives his own Body and Blood under the forms of Bread and Wine. He takes the bread and says:
"Take and eat of this, all of you, for this is my Body which is given for you." Then He takes the cup of wine and says, "Take this cup and drink from it, all of you, for this is the cup of the new everlasting covenant. , this is my Blood which is shed for you and all men for the remission of sins. Continue to do this in remembrance of Me." This is how Jesus wants to remain with us always, through the Eucharist. We may receive Him Himself in Holy Communion.
It was the beginning of what later came to be called the Eucharist, or the Lord's Supper. Despite all the suffering, according to the church, this is also a beautiful event, hence the name Maundy Thursday. Because in the church tradition, white is the color for an important celebration. In Catholic tradition, all crucifixes are covered with a white cloth on Maundy Thursday.
Prayer for Maundy Thursday
You sent your Son into the world,
And before his hour had come,
He washed his disciples’ feet.
You had given all things into his hands.
He had come from you, and was going to you,
And what did he do?
He knelt down on the floor,
And washed his friends’ feet.
He was their teacher and their Lord,
Yet he washed their feet.
Lord God, help us learn from his example;
Help us to do as he has done for us.
The world will know we are his disciples
If we love one another.
Strengthen our hands and our wills for love
And for service.
Keep before our eyes the image of your Son,
Who, being God, became a Servant for our sake.
All glory be to him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and forever.