|(c) Biblical Art on the WWW.|
Maundy Thursday commemorates the night Jesus prayed in the Garden, was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter and began the Passion. Holy Thursday is the anniversary of the Last Supper – for our purposes, the night Jesus instituted the rite of Fusswaschung or foot washing by washing the feet of his followers.
The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the ceremony of Washing of Feet or Mandatum in the following manner “Following Jesus’ example of humble service, the presider and others wash the feet of various members of the assembly. This act is our response to the ‘mandatum’. Christ’s instruction in the Gospel to humbly serve one another,” (Triduum Service Program, 21 Apr 2011). For us this meant that four of us each staffed a chair and wash basin surrounding the baptismal fount in the central aisle of De Paul’s parish church – where only the day before we had gathered to hear a legendary performance of J. S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion brought to us by internationally renowned Soli Deo Gloria. While Matthew’s version of the Passion does not in fact include foot washing, it does include the story of the woman and the alabaster jar of perfumed oils: