Daily Office Readings for Maundy Thursday of Holy Week: Year 2
“While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (Mark 14: 22 – 25)
This is the central sacrament of our Christian faith. This act means so much more than sermons or readings. This is what our Lord Jesus left for us to do and to remember him by. Today is what our Church has named “Maundy Thursday.” This is the night our Lord Jesus was arrested and taken into the custody of the chief priests and the scribes and the elders of the Temple. He knew this was coming but insisted on this sacramental meal anyway.
I ask each Christian family to also have a prayerful meal this evening as did Moses at the first Passover Meal. This is the faithful tradition that our Lord Jesus was maintaining, and asking us to do the same. And we must remember His words regarding the wine, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” It fortifies us for the sake of many.
St Paul also asks us to continue this tradition in our 1st Corinthian’s reading for today. He says, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread;” (1st Corinthians 10: 16 – 17). The four-fold parts of Holy Communion are “Take,” “Bless,” Brake,” and “Give.” We are our Church regardless of where we are. It is not the building that makes us the Church; it is being the body of Christ that makes us the Church; broken apart but blessed nevertheless for the benefit of many.
And let us not get a big head about being Church. Being Church means being in service to those who do not belong to it. It was William Temple (1881–1944), who said, “The Church exists primarily for the sake of those who are still outside it.” God loves humanity – all humanity. As Church, sustained by the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are Baptized into the welfare of all people regardless of what they believe or do not believe.
The people of Ukraine are outside the Anglican Church and should be targets of all that we can do for them. I am proud to say that I belong to, and lead, our Women’s Bible Study at St. Paul’s in the Pines, Fayetteville, N.C. ( I am the only male member of the group). We just sent money to the Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) program for the relief of Ukraine. We are truly Church.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John