About Maundy Thursday
Ever wondered where the name Maundy Thursday comes from and what it means? Well, there are at least three different traditions. Perhaps all three of them are historically based and valid.
In one tradition, this name is rooted in the Latin word mandatum, meaning “command,” in memory of the new commandment that Jesus gave his disciples on this day to love one another.
According to a second tradition, traces the origins back to another Latin word mundo, meaning “wash.” On this day, Jesus showed his disciples a perfect example of what true servanthood means by washing their feet.
In a third tradition, this day is based on the word maund, which means “basket.” Christians would give out baskets of food to the poor, and distribute specially minted coins called maund money, and eventually purchased by coin collectors.
In thinking of the origins of Maundy Thusday, I’m reminded of a famous quote by Church historian, Professor Jaroslav Pelikan: “Tradition is the living faith of the dead. Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.” As you, dear readers, celebrate Maundy Thursday today, may it indeed be an expression of the living faith of the dead!