Maundy means commandments. Right before the Passover meal, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, commanding them to be servants to each other. He shared a Last Supper with them, commanding them to continue this tradition in memory of Him. He commanded them to love one another. He was teaching them something about Spiritual Community. And all of this closeness was followed by betrayal and denial and his arrest.
This is a time when it is easy for us to separate from our spiritual communities. Instead of being together, we’re isolated. We seem to be going in the opposite direction of spiritual community – we are distanced rather than together. This can lead us to break those bonds. We might be tempted to go it alone. We’re not sure who to trust.. We’re confused. Uncertain. And we want to deny the truth and can be tempted to betray our values. That which held us together – love and truth and integrity and care and compassion and generosity – can easily dissipate. We have to decide what side we are on. In spite of these problems, this is a time to strengthen the bonds of community rather than allow the situation to separate us.
But there is one more aspect of Maundy Thursday that is important. It is the time that Jesus said “Yes” to the forthcoming tragedy. He said “Yes” to God’s Will being carried out, believing that there was something greater in the future. It was not an easy decision. He sweated blood over this one.
In this darkness, we are called to be willing to live in this difficult time. It is not that it is God’s will that coronavirus is sweeping our country. We aren’t in the same situation as Jesus. But we are in a position not to deny the reality and the difficulty and the struggle, believing that it is possible for something good to come out of this.