Why Maundy Thursday?

Today is Holy Thursday, also called Maundy Thursday. In the Philippines, this is a public holiday. Here in Australia, we have to come to work. At least we get Monday off though because of Easter Monday which was something we didn’t have in the Philippines.

This reminded me of a story of when I was still working in the Philippines for an American company’s new Philippine-based office. There were only a handful of us working for the company and we were left almost entirely unsupervised in the first few months of operation. However, we are required to make a conference call to the bosses in the US every week to monitor our progress.

On one of these conference calls, we mentioned to the boss that there would be public holidays coming up during the Holy Week. We said that there would be no work on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Our boss couldn’t believe it. He said that he was surprised to hear that there was a week-long public holiday coming up. We were a bit confused with his reply. Week-long? We clarified that there’d only be no work on Thursday and Friday.

He said, “then why did you say there’d be no work from Monday to Thursday and Friday?”

Ah! There it is. We corrected him that we didn’t say “Monday to Thursday” but “Maundy Thursday.” We had a good laugh about it. He still complained though, “why didn’t you just Thursday. Why did you you have to say ‘Maundy’?”

We didn’t actually know why it is called “Maundy”. We’ve only ever known the holiday as Maundy Thursday and sometimes as Holy Thursday.

I did a little research and found out the reason for Maundy in Maundy Thursday. According to scholars, Maundy is derived from the Latin word Mandatum that means Commandment. It is taken from John 13:34 of the Latin version of the Bible: “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos ut et vos diligatis invicem,” Jesus Christ said to His disciples during the Last Supper. In English: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

Well, now you know why, too. For more information regarding Maundy Thursday, you can read the Catholic Encyclopedia entry here.

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Published in: on April 13, 2006 at 1:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Jesus look-alike contest

I mentioned in past entries that Holy Week and Easter isn’t given as much reverence here in Australia as we do in the Philippines. Here, Easter is about chocolate and the Easter Bunny. Forget the part that the season is about Jesus Christ dying on the cross for the sins of humanity and defeating death itself on Easter day.

Okay, I’m sure there might be some of you who will contend that Easter is a pagan-derived celebration. Well, the Resurrection of Christ was celebrated by Christians in the early years of movement at around the same time of Easter (and the same goes with the Jewish Passover ) even before it was ever called Easter. It was only named that later on to help convert pagans into the Christian faith. So, even if the name “Easter” may have etymologically been derived from pagan sources, the reason why it had been observed by Christians and why it is still celebrated widely today was because of its Christ’s Resurrection. Anyway, my apologies for digressing.

Let me get back to the point of this blog post.

I expected that there would be little mention of Jesus in popular media this year’s Lenten season. Not so. Our current favourite FM radio station, 101.9 Fox FM hosted a “Jesus Look-alike Contest” on their morning breakfast show hosted by Matt Tilley and Jo Stanley (and co-hosted by Troy and Adam Richards).

I’m a little conflicted about the contest. On the one hand, it seems borderline blasphemous. On the other, it does let people know that Easter is about Jesus more than it is about the Easter Bunny. I can’t help but be slightly offended by their irreverence toward Jesus. I remember feeling offended a while back when they were poking fun at Pope John Paul II’s death, too. I’m really tempted to stop listening to their station just for the principle of it.

There were a few complaints from listeners objecting to the contest. But one Anglican priest called in to say he’s okay with it. God would just probably think it funny, he said (I paraphrased him). He did gave kudos to the morning breakfast team for helping getting the word out that Easter is about Jesus.

To see the pictures of those who joined the contest, go here. What do you think? It does seem like a harmless contest. But names like “Motorbike Jesus” and “Taco Bell Jesus” (which are reminiscent of the movie Dogma’s “Buddy Jesus”) make me feel uncomfortable. It’s like poking fun at Jesus.

Well, like I said. I’m conflicted about the whole thing. At the very least though, I could use the photos of these Jesus look-alikes as reference if I wanted to draw or paint a portrait of Jesus. Also, they did have a Jesus trivia portion in the contest so people who knew nothing about Jesus would’ve picked up something about him if they were listening in. The good news, though, is that the contest ended this morning. That means I could look forward to listening to Fox FM again without hearing anymore nonsense about that silly contest.

Published in: on April 13, 2006 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment