Monday, April 14, 2014

Maundy Morning Quarterback

Later this week is Maundy Thursday, which is the Thursday before Easter, the day of the Last Supper, traditionally celebrated by Christians with the blessing of chrism oil, the ceremonial washing of feet, and the distribution to the poor of alms known as “Maundy money.”
Opinion differs about where the name Maundy comes from. Most linguists say it’s derived from Middle English and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" ("A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another as I have loved you"), the statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John 13:34, in which he explained significance of washing his apostles’ feet. The phrase is used during the "Mandatum" ceremony at which a priest or bishop washes the feet of 12 persons chosen as a cross-section of the community. (You’ll recall Pope Francis kicked up a controversy last year when he included women and Muslims among his washees.)
But there is another theory: that Maundy arose from "maundsor baskets" or "maundy purses" of alms that the king of England distributed at Whitehall on that day. In this view "Maundy" is related to the Latin mendicare, and French mendier, “to beg.” 

In some countries there is a custom of eating various foods on Maundy Thursday, including sugared almonds, green salads, and pancakes, which, if taken together, make a rather odd meal.

In Scandinavian tradition the day is known as “Sheer (or clean) Thursday” (Skaer torsdag) from the custom of washing the feet.

The Bard of Buffalo Bayou washes his feet (religiously) every month, whether they need it or not.

            Jesus and the twelve apostles
            Broke some bread and drank some wassails,
            Gathered in an upper room,
            Where one last supper they’d consume.
            When food was left from supper there,
            They wished they’d had some Tupperware.  

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