Do this in remembrance of me

Every year, Maundy Thursday enables us to relive the Last Supper of the Lord with his twelve apostles. It was then that, taking a piece of bread, He uttered the powerful phrase: “This is My body”, and taking the cup of wine, He said, “This is My blood.” In the Gospel According to Luke, the following words were added and became a core part of Church life: “Do this in remembrance of me.”

Disciples took these words as a call to recreate this act and share it throughout the burgeoning Christian community. As the community grew, this call to recreate the Lord’s act was sent to the heads of the great Churches. As the first bishops, they understood they had to entrust the responsibility of perpetuating this sacred act to Church elders, namely other bishops and priests.

The Last Supper’s narrative in the Gospel According to John offers another, equally important sign, namely the washing of feet. The One who said “Do this in remembrance of me” also said “You must wash one another’s feet”.

It is important to consider both of these powerful symbols of the Last Supper. Those who received the great privilege of saying “This is My body, this is My blood” in remembrance of the Lord are also invited to wash feet in remembrance of the Lord’s act. These two signs can therefore be considered the dual facets of the same call. In order to pronounce with dignity these sacred words that bring the Lord within the community, one must know how to perform these humble acts of servitude as testimony of His presence.

The Last Supper we commemorate on Maundy Thursday invites us to open our hearts to this loving act, which is then fully realized through the death of Christ on the Cross. During the Last Supper, Jesus brought together the many facets of self-sacrifice, expressed through an act of service to others, namely foot washing, as well as the supreme gift of the One who shall give of His body and blood for the life of the world. The one who has the great privilege of presiding over this gathering of believers also has the great responsibility of welcoming this Gift from God and reflecting it daily, and letting oneself be transformed by the call to self-sacrifice expressed through the Eucharist.