The Malankara World Journal Issue 68, a special edition of Malankara
World Journal for the Holy Week covering Holy Monday thru Maundy
Thursday, is available online at:
When we think about the Thursday of the Holy week, what is the first
vision that comes to our mind. Is it the Last Supper? In my childhood
days, I recall lines of people going to church for confession a few days
before Thursday. Everyone goes for the mandatory confession before
Pessaha and the long lines to receive holy communion at the end of the
service while we sing, "Rehasyam, Rahasyam, ..." It is 3 or 4 in the
morning and the chanting keeps us awake.
Later I came to know that Pessaha (Pes'ho) Thursday is called Maundy
Thursday. I had no clue what that word meant. It sure sounded funny. So,
in this issue of the MW Journal, we explain where the word 'Maundy'
originated. It turns out that the word "Maundy" comes from the Latin
word Mandatum (Mandare), which is translated "commandment." On Holy
Thursday, Jesus gave a new commandment to his disciples while washing
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you
must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my
disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)
I was thinking about this "new" commandment. Is it really new? Jesus had
made clear that the 10 commandments can be broken down to two: viz.,
Love God and Love your neighbor. Jesus said these two covers all the 10
Mosaic commandments and the gist of it is "Love". So, love is not a new
commandment. The emphasis given by Jesus to Love is something new.
Before Jesus, in the Old Testament times and Mosaic Laws, sacrifice was
given more importance than love and mercy. Jesus changed that with his
emphasis on Love and Forgiveness.
So, what is the New Commandment Jesus gave to His disciples on Holy
Thursday after washing their feet? I think, it is his demonstration of
humility and His new norm of 'Servant Leadership.' Let us take a look at
the relevant Gospel passages.
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to
wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should
do as I have done to you. (John 13:14-15)
And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over
them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as
the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is
not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who
are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their
great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among
you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;
and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even
the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His
life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:42-45)
When Jesus came to earth, He came as a servant. He was a servant in His
life. He was a servant in His death. He said, "Do as I do. Follow My
Not only was Jesus a servant in His life, but he was also a servant in
His death. In dying for our sins on a cross on Good Friday, Jesus
demonstrated how He was the ultimate servant. He died to redeem us from
our sins. "He gave His life a ransom for many."
So, on Holy Thursday, Jesus was not commanding a foot-washing ritual. He
was commanding an attitude adjustment. He wants us to be like Himself.
He wants us to imitate His humiliation and servant-nature. He wants us
to have a life of humble service.
To do this, to imitate Jesus, requires an attitude of love. The
humiliation and servant-nature of Christ Jesus was prompted by love.
Jesus washed the feet, He went to the cross, He humbled Himself and
became a servant, out of love.
It was love, pure love, which led Jesus to humble Himself and become our
Jesus is commanding us to imitate Him, to lead a life of humble service,
to have an attitude of love. And this applies to all of us.
It applies to the leaders of the church. Peter told the elders of the
church to be examples to the flock, not lording it over them but
humbling themselves under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:3,6).
It applies to husbands. Husbands are to imitate the humiliation and
servant-nature of Christ. Paul says (an epistle read in our marriage
(Eph 5:25) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church
and gave himself up for her ...
Husbands are not to be domineering and dominating when it comes to their
wives. They are to be like Christ.
It applies to wives. Wives are to imitate the humiliation and
servant-nature of Christ. Paul says (an epistle read in our marriage
(Eph 5:22) Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
It applies to all church members in their dealings and relationships
with one another. Paul says,
(Eph 5:21) Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Jesus emphasized action over words. He taught his disciples by doing and
demonstrating. He commanded us to "reflect Christ" on our faces by being
a 'living testimonial' of selfless service. That was the new
commandment. Yes, it was Love but something more than that. Love God,
Love Neighbor. Be of Service and Imitate Jesus.
The God's way, as taught by Jesus, is different. "The way up is down.
It's the poor in spirit, who are rich in the kingdom. It's those who
mourn who will be happy. It's those who hunger and thirst who will be
satisfied. It's the persecuted who will be blessed."
"The broken heart is the healed heart, ... the contrite spirit is the
rejoicing spirit, ... the repenting soul is the victorious soul, ... to
have nothing is to possess all, ... to bear the cross is to wear the
crown, ... to give is to receive." [The Valley of Vision]
Dr. Jacob Mathew
Table of Contents Issue No: 68 (Holy Week Special 2)
1. Editor's Note
2. Bible Readings
Syrian Orthodox Lectionary for Holy Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and
4. In Agony Until the End of the World
It is written of Jesus on the Mount of Olives that he began "to feel
sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful even to
death. Remain here and keep watch with me.'" This is an unrecognizable
Jesus! He who commanded the winds and the seas and they obeyed him, who
told everyone not to fear, is now prey to sadness and anxiety. What is
the reason? It is all contained in one word, the chalice: "My Father, if
it is possible, let this chalice pass from me!"
5. Featured: A Week with the Lord
Below is a reflection for Passion Sunday based on Saint Luke's account.
.. The Church celebrates the mystery of her Lord until He comes when God
will be everything to everyone. The liturgy thus shares in Jesus'
desire: 'I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you' until it
is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. 'He took a cup, gave thanks, and
said, Take this and share it among yourselves.' It's important to note
that at this point the cup contains wine only; not the Blood of Jesus. ...
6. Book Excerpt: With Christ In the School of Prayer - Lesson 31: Pray
without ceasing or A Life of Prayer
This is the final lesson from the book, 'With Christ in the School of
Prayer' by Andrew Murray. With this chapter, we have covered the entire
book. This book, often referenced, is a very important reference book on
intercessional prayer, something Orthodox Church believes in greatly.
Murray skillfully describes the role of the Holy Spirit within the
church and exhorts Christians to use the blessings God has given us.
This book is a guide to living a life as a temple of the Holy Spirit. We
hope that you enjoyed reading this book as much as we have enjoyed in
bringing it to you. ...
7. Confession – Is It Still Necessary?
One of the harsh realities facing the Church is the fact that many of
her members no longer receive the sacrament of Confession on a regular
basis. For one reason or another, many don't feel the need to go to
Confession. Let's look at some of the common objections and discuss why
the sacrament of Confession is still as relevant today as it was when
Jesus instituted it 2000 years ago. ...
8. Jesus Christ Granted the Apostles His Authority to Forgive Sins -
9. What Does Maundy Thursday Mean?
Etymologically, the consensus is that "Maundy" comes from the Latin word
Mandatum which is translated "commandment." ...
10. Holy Week Timeline: What happened on Holy Monday and Tuesday?
11. Holy Week Timeline: What Happened on Holy Wednesday and Maundy Thursday?
12. Recipe: Pesaha Appam (Southern Kerala)
13. Malankara World Passion Week Supplement
Malankara World Passion Week Supplement has additional resources for
your spiritual needs during the Holy Week. Read Day by Day commentary on
what happened to Jesus during the Holy Week, articles, sermons, prayers,
meditations, recipes, etc. will keep you ready to face the resurrected
Jesus on the Easter Day.
14. About Malankara World
Read all the articles and features in this special edition of Malankara
World Journal online at:
Thank you for your support and help.
In HIS Service
Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World Journal
ID No: 956