Ex 12:1-8, 11-14; 1Cor 11: 23-26; Jn 13: 1-15
Mother Theresa of Calcutta, the foundress of the Missionaries of Charity that famous living saint because of her service to the poorest of the poor was a frail woman. Her face and her hands bore signs of age and manual labor. She has very little that she can call her own. She spoke in a simple, straightforward language. But she possessed a power that could move people, even those who did not share her faith about what God wants. Her power came from her caring heart, her wealth from a compassionate spirit.
Mother Teresa is the first to acknowledge that she is but an instrument of the Lord, that she had and her sisters, the Missionaries of Charity do is follow the example of the Lord, washing the feet of His disciples.
On the evening before His death, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Peter and others were shocked upon seeing that their Master and Lord washed their feet. They could not understand why their Teacher assumed the role of a slave and lowered Himself. Jesus made a gesture that they could forget for the rest of their lives. This washing of the feet was also a symbol of Jesus’ death and suffering for the sake of the many.
This gesture was also a sign of Jesus’ new commandment of loving one another as He loved them, and to love is to serve. The measure of greatness is service.
In this occasion also that Jesus instituted the Eucharist within the context of a family meal, the Last Supper. That is why we receive the Eucharist today within the context also of a family meal, the Mass. A family eating together at the family table and partaking of the same food is a sign of unity. So, our unity with Jesus Christ is by its very nature communitarian in spirit and not an individual one. It is impossible to come into union with Christ and through Him with the Father without coming into union with the other members of God’s family. Such union must find its expression in charity and love. Let us wash each other’s feet following the example of Jesus Christ.
St Thomas Aquinas made a reflection about this very important event in the life of Jesus by which He ate with His disciples. According to St. Thomas that there are five purposes or desires of Jesus Christ for this particular event. First, so that we would not forget Him (Lk 22:19); second, so that He could be our food, our spiritual strength and healing (Jn 6:35,6:51). The third was, so that by the Eucharist He could be our sacrifice and wish forgiveness of sins for us. He would be our peace offering, our gift to the Father (Lk 22:19, Mtt 26:27-28); fourth, so that we could personally experience His deep love for us and His presence with us. Jesus has indicated that He wanted a personal friendship with each believer and each person without which accepted His love (Jn 6:36, 6:57). And the fifth is that we may share in His resurrection (Jn 6:51,6:54). Holy communion is our personal share in the power and glory of the Risen Jesus.
May this celebration of the Lord’s Supper may become for us a realization that we should be in union with others and with God.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle B