Good morning, happy Holy Thursday, and many blessings.
John (John 13:1-15) is the only Evangelist who mentions the incident of the washing of the feet of the disciples by Christ; hence it might seem that this occurrence was of but little importance. John, however, introduces it with so much minuteness and care, that we cannot but believe that Christ intended to teach an important lesson by it; for after its performance He admonishes His disciples to observe this example and to wash each other’s feet.
Hence many Christians still continue this practice. There are people, however, in this, as in other matters, do not understand the true meaning; they are satisfied with the mere external observance of the custom, and have therefore no benefit from it. Hence it is necessary to preach about this occurrence, and to instruct the people as to its true meaning.
Jesus loved his own, particularly his disciples, right to the end. He showed this in a remarkable way, honoring them by washing their feet. Strangely enough this scene is usually considered as having a connection with the Eucharist.
He tells his disciples that, unless he washes them, they can have no part or fellowship with him. Such fellowship is brought about in the Eucharist. His cleansing of them is done, so that they can be fully united with him. It is the start of something greater. The simple prayer ‘Cleanse me, O Lord’ is a useful one. Jesus is both Teacher and Lord, and should be regarded as such. But he is also a humble servant. His disciples need to be the same, wise and ever assisting.
Jesus is facing his 'hour'. He has no illusions about what lies ahead, of what would be involved in 'departing from this world'. But all his thought is for his disciples; he wants to give them an example of how they should live - in loving service.
Jesus loved his own 'to the end', without limits. Where do I place limits to my love of others?
Jesus knows who he is - where he has come from, where he is going. He is teaching his disciples that their true identity is to be servants of one another in his image. I ask to learn what I need to learn from this scene.
John the Evangelist communicates to us what is at the heart of the Eucharist, not by describing the action with bread and wine, but by giving us a lingering look at the servant heart of Jesus. I humbly give thanks for my opportunities to be of service to others. I pray that even my small acts of service may be for the good of the world and for the glory of God.
What aspect of Jesus’ behavior has been/ is an inspiration to me, to behave like him? ‘To wash one another’s feet’; how can I see this act of Jesus as an invitation to show love concretely?
Like Peter, in what aspect of my life would I have greatest difficulty in letting Jesus ‘wash my feet’? In being offered his Gospel for the Holy Thursday liturgy, is my understanding of ‘Eucharist’ changed, challenged?