Grace: To love God with all my heart and my neighbor as myself
Text for Prayer: Jn 13
Reflection: In Jn 13, Jesus washes his apostles’ feet at the Last Supper, giving them the “mandatum” or great commandment to go and do likewise. “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do,” Jesus tells them (Jn 13:15). Today in Rome, Pope Francis is scheduled to celebrate Holy Thursday at a juvenile prison, washing the feet of 12 inmates to symbolize this loving gesture of Christ.
Some might take offense at the pope’s choice of inmates for this rite, but we will do well to recall that Jesus himself washed the feet of Judas in John’s gospel, knowing full well Judas would betray him.
Jesus’ action causes strife among the apostles, with Peter at first refusing to allow it, and Judas the traitor leaving early after Jesus declares that someone will betray him.
Meanwhile, the youngest apostle John leans his head against Jesus’ chest, hoping in vain to learn the identity of this traitor.
Only after Judas leaves does Jesus reveal fully his true message. “I give you a new commandment: Love one another,” he tells the 11 apostles, adding: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (Jn 13:34).
Jesus then proceeds to give us the Eucharist, the sacramental food of his body and blood, as an offering of thanksgiving for God’s love.
As we draw to the end of Lent during this Holy Week, we might ask ourselves whether we are truly prepared to receive Christ in the Eucharist this Easter. We may wish to ponder whether we have truly shared God’s love with others. And we can perhaps take stock of our desire to serve God by serving others, thereby helping to bring about God’s kingdom here on earth.
Questions: For what am I most grateful right now? Do I love others the way Jesus loves me? Which apostle resonates most with me in this story of the Last Supper in the cenacle?