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Maundy Thursday: Significance, Commemoration of the Day That Marks the Last Supper of Jesus

Maundy Thursday also marks the events that took place on the night before the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday.

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Updated:April 19, 2019, 1:06 PM IST
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Maundy Thursday: Significance, Commemoration of the Day That Marks the Last Supper of Jesus
Image for representation.

Maundy Thursday being observed on April 18 this year precedes the Good Friday of the weeklong Easter festival and commemorates Jesus Christ washing the feet of his disciples during the Last Supper to set an example of humility and love.

Maundy Thursday also marks the events that took place on the night before the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday.

THE LAST SUPPER AND EUCHARIST

The special ritual of Eucharist observed by Christians across the world on Maundy Thursday commemorates the final meal— hence The Last Supper— Jesus Christ hosted for his disciples two millennia ago, the night before he was arrested and crucified.

According to the Bible, Christ foretold his disciples or The Apostles that, like the bread broken and wine poured out during The Last Supper, his body too would be broken and his blood poured out for the sake of humanity. Christ then invited his followers to enact the event whenever they gathered to remember his sacrifice. The ritual would eventually come to be known as Eucharist and symbolises the core message of Christianity: the sacrifice of Christ for the sake of humanity. Jesus also told his followers to think of him whenever they ate bread and drank wine. This is now remembered in the Christian service as Communion, Mass or Eucharist.

THE MESSAGE OF MAUNDY THURSDAY

Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, to their discomfort, during the Last Supper was an act of demonstrating humility, equality and love towards fellow humans since, at that time, people would wear open sandals and so the duty of washing feet would usually be assigned to servants.

According to the Gospel of John, he told his followers: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. “For I have given you an example, you also should do just as I have done to you.”

COMMEMORATION

Biblical teachings have inspired the main commemorations of Maundy Thursday as in many countries priests wash the feet of people on the day to reenact the actions of Jesus. However, in the United Kingdom, the Queen instead gives special commemorative coins called Maundy money at a different cathedral each year. The money is distributed to people who have aided their local community or church in some significant way, with a man and woman recognised for each year of the Queen’s life.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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