Through Lent with Pope Francis
Let us imagine how the disciples were astonished when they saw Jesus beginning to perform this task fit for slaves… He wanted to make them understand the message for the next day when he would die like a slave to pay the debt for all of us. If we were to listen to these things from Jesus, life would be so beautiful because we would hurry to help each other out instead of getting the best of others, to take advantage of each other, the way con artists teach us. It is very beautiful to help each other, to give a hand – these are human universal gestures that are born from a noble heart. And with this celebration today, Jesus wants to teach us this: the nobility of the heart. Each one of us could say: “But if the Pope only knew the things I have inside….” But Jesus knows that, and he loves us just like we are! And he washes each of our feet. Jesus is never shocked at our weaknesses. He is never astonished, because he has already paid. He just wants to accompany us; he wants to take us by the hand so that life won’t be so harsh for us. I will perform the same deed of the washing of the feet, which is not something folkloric, no. We can all think of it as a gesture that tells us how we should treat each other. In society, we see how many people take advantage of others; how many people are in a corner and can’t get out…. How many injustices, how many people are without jobs, how many people work and are paid half, how many people have no money to purchase medicine, how many families are destroyed, so many awful things…. And none of us can say, “Thanks to God I am not like, you know”. “If I am not like that it is because of the grace of God!” Each one of us can slip, every one of us. And this awareness, this certainty that each of us can slip, is what gives us the dignity – listen to the word – the “dignity” of being sinners. And Jesus wants us like this, and because of this he wanted to wash [his disciples’] feet and say:
“I came to save you, to serve you”.
Homily, Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 2023
John 13:1-15 NCB
As the feast of Passover drew near, Jesus was aware that his hour had come to depart from this world and to go to the Father. He had loved his own who were in the world, and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already put it into the mind of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.
During supper, Jesus, fully aware that the Father had entrusted all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, got up from the table, removed his outer garments, and took a towel that he tied around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel wrapped around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not understand now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you will have no share with me.”
Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”
Jesus then said, “Anyone who has bathed has no need to wash further, except for his feet, for he is clean all over. You also are clean, although not every one of you is clean.” He knew the one who was going to betray him. That is why he added the words, “Not every one of you is clean.”
After he had finished washing their feet and had once again put on his outer garments, he reclined at table and said to them,“
Do you understand what I have done for you?
You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.
So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.
“I have given you an example.
What I have done for you, you should also do.
Thought for Today
There is no false humility with Jesus. He is Lord and Teacher, no doubting that, but that doesn’t mean he expects people to bow down before him. He bows down in front of the disciples dressed in a towel.
We can ask Jesus for that confident humility that he had, which didn’t need people to praise him in order to feel good. What humble tasks am I being called to do?
He Washed their Feet – sung by Michael Crawford, written by Mary B. Philp