The English word “maund” refers to a small basket held out by beggars. Thus, the term Maundy Thursday is thought to arise from a medieval custom wherein alms were given to the poor on that day. Most of us, however, equate Holy Thursday mainly with the Last Supper of Christ and his Apostles. Some of that celebration or service is given to the washing of the feet and the collection of food baskets for the poor. I find these rituals or customs impressive and very moving — as concrete expressions of Christ’s love, carried out for and by his followers. Here in Sacred Heart Chapel we have been washing the feet and collecting food for at least 20 years.
The section of The Divine Comedy titled “The Inferno” describes Dante’s journey through hell which begins on Holy Thursday night and continues to the dawn of Easter Sunday when he emerges from hell.