Scripture Passage: John 13:34
34 “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”
Maundy Thursday gets its name from the first word of the Latin phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos.” This is in fact John 13:34: I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other.
Jesus’ new commandment comes during John’s version of the Last Passover meal shared between Jesus and his disciples. Diverging from the other 3 Gospels, John’s Last Supper does not contain the Eucharistic tradition shared by the synoptic Gospels, but Jesus performs a foot-washing over his disciples. This is an exchange that has Peter feeling awkward with regards to social position, servanthood, and honor. Jesus ushers in the New Covenant with this very gritty, very down-and-dirty act. Verses 14, 15, and 34 are parallel in that they set up a model. Jesus is saying: what I have done you do as well. In this act, Jesus has brought his disciples together as a family. He desires that they would continue this ethos of laying themselves down for one another. To love each other is to wash one another’s feet. This type of familial love is the distinctive that bears witness to the world to the Gospel of Jesus Christ embodied in his followers. This is radical communion. This is the beloved community. As we close in on Easter, be reminded that we demonstrate our affiliation and commitment to Jesus by loving one another.