(17 April 2014, 2 April 2015)
LORD Jesus Christ, who in this wonderful Sacrament has given us a memorial of your passion: Grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood, that we may know within ourselves the fruits of your redemption: who are alive and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hates nothing that you have made and forgives the sins of all them that are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Exodus 12:1-24; Psalm 43; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Luke 23:1-49
“Maundy” Thursday refers to the mandatum – the commandments – which Jesus gives to his people at the last supper: “love one another as I have loved you.” Today’s readings, rather than reporting those words, show us instead how he loved us. Once again the Gospel account relates to us the death of Jesus, but this time in the context of Passover and Eucharist. In the Passover, God’s people celebrated the sparing of their firstborn sons in Egypt. And, as the Old Testament reading says, they were commanded to keep that celebration forever. At the last supper Jesus transformed that Passover feast into its New Covenant form, which we know as the Eucharist, and which today’s Epistle reading teaches us about and today’s Collect meditates upon. So the Gospel reading’s account of Christ’s death – himself being God’s own firstborn Son – is also transformed from a story of sadness to one of joy. And so we celebrate, with Psalm 43, “I will go to the altar of God: to God my joy and gladness.”