Daily Reflection – Mar 24, 2016
Thursday 24 March 2016
First Reading: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
Our blessing-cup is a communion with the blood of Christ
Psalm 115(116):12-13, 15-18
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Gospel Reading: John 13:1-15
Today’s Note: Holy Thursday. Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
Again, we have the religious experience of Israel, pieced together over the centuries into what becomes (like our Eucharist) the central celebration of Jews, a remembering, even today. Assuming most of us know the story of the “passing over” of the angel of death, we move to the overarching question of Jews and Christians: “What return can I make to the Lord for all God’s goodness to me? I will take the cup of salvation” (Ps 116). Paul offers us the earliest account of Jesus’ actions at the last supper: taking bread, cup and asking us to do the same, memory of him.
Our new pope has already followed Jesus’ example, washing the feet of AIDS patients in Argentina, not the well-manicured feet of those like us. It is a wonder that there was, in John’s portrayal, no arguing among the disciples as to whose feet would be washed first. Judas has his feet washed. Then Jesus “came to Simon Peter” and the argument began. Jesus is quite strict, “you will have no part with me.”
Go to that upper room with Jesus and the disciples. Which one are you? Suppose you are weighed down with sin or sorrow. How will Jesus look at you as he washes your feet? Suppose you are Peter. Can you feel with him? Independent, unwilling to let anyone, let alone Jesus, take care of him? Of you? Tell Jesus what you want. Jesus, the pope and now you. Whose “feet” need “washing” in your circle of family, friends, colleagues? What will you do?
Today as bishops and priests gather together, we thank you, Spirit, for Francis, our joyful and simple pope. May he continue to bow before us, the Body of Christ, to reverence us too.