Bouts, Dieric, 1415-1475. Feast of the Passover, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved May 2, 2023]. Original source:

RCL Maundy Thursday
Exodus 12:1-14, Psalm 116:1 and 10-17, I Corinthians 11:23-26, Saint John 13:1-17 and 31b-35

Tonight, between treachery and betrayal, there is an old meal, the Passover, that Jesus imbues with new meaning. There’s an arrest, interrogations, denials, and floggings, all after dreadfully earnest prayer and the rising of the moon. There is so much happening, that you could lose track of it all.

But there are things tonight that we must remember and we must continue until He comes again. The first is that meal, the Passover, given new meaning. The Lord takes the bread and tells his disciples that it is his Body to be broken again and again in remembrance of Him who gives Himself for them. At the end of the meal, He takes a cup of wine and tells them that it is His Blood, poured out for them and for many for the remission of their sins. They are to pour it out again and again in remembrance of Him and His gift of Himself to them.

Also to be remembered for all time from tonight is the new commandment that He gives them. It is like the old commandment, but he raises the bar considerably. They are to love one another, not as of old, as they love themselves, but they are to love one another as He loves them. He tells them this just before He goes out and gives Himself away for them to death on a cross.

The new Sacrament and the new Commandment his faithful followers are to keep forever, for He is leaving them, and while He is away, everyone will know that they are his disciples, if they are able to keep that new Commandment.

Amid the treachery and betrayal, the horrible death that He endures to set them free from sin and death, He gives them those two things, the new Sacrament and the new Commandment, to be their guardrails against all treachery and every betrayal; bulwarks against every fear and all malice. He gives them what they need to be sustained while they in all lands and in all times declare their loyalty to Him and so prove their worthiness. He gives them everything they need to be ready when He returns and claims them, claims us, to be his for ever and ever, world without end.