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Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor ‘Pauses for Thought’ on BBC Radio 2

Maundy Thursday – 1 April 2010

Well, Chris, as well as being April Fool’s Day, today is the feast day called Maundy Thursday. The word ‘Maundy’ comes from the ‘Mandatum’ or command by the Lord Jesus at the Last Supper, ‘to love one another as I have loved you.’

Today our Monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will offer Maundy money to local pensioners in Derby Cathedral. An ancient custom which stretches back to the thirteenth century and a reminder of the Monarch’s duty to serve the people of the nation and to be especially mindful of the poor. It is nice to think, in this the 56th
anniversary of her reign, how wonderfully Queen Elizabeth, has served the people of this country and beyond.

Tonight I will be celebrating the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper – a commemoration of the night before Jesus died when He gathered his disciples around him at table. Before they ate, he washed their feet and gave them the commandment to love one another as He loved them. On that evening, he instituted the Holy Eucharist, known as the Mass, which has been celebrated from that evening onwards, all over the Christian world, – a source of strength and communion with God.

So in pausing for thought this morning I want to suggest this to you. I don’t suppose you will be washing anybody’s feet, or indeed giving out Maundy money like the Queen. But you might remember the Man who said, Greater love than this no one has than that a man lay down his life for his friends. We can imitate him in some way, by some service to those less fortunate than ourselves. Many of you do it each day, but today is a special day because of the Man who gave us a new commandment: to love one another as I have loved you.