Thursday, April 5, 2012


It's almost impossible for us today to understand the impact of Jesus' gesture at the Last Supper as recounted in John 13 (the Gospel for the Holy Thursday "Liturgy of the Lord's Supper").  Foot-washing was beneath descriptions like "menial" or "degrading"--not even slaves could be forced to wash their masters' feet, according to Jewish law.  What would make a similar impact on us today?

I think of people who are suffering from a stroke or cancer or any other debilitating illness--weakened to the point that one cannot bathe or use the toilet without someone else's assistance.  This condition is true also of Alzheimer's patients, but then (at least in the later stages) they are not aware; others are.  How humiliating it must feel for them to have to be tended in those ways!
Jesus' action is much like His offering to "clean someone up" after a bathroom accident--how degrading for Him to do that for us!  Who could bear it?  Peter certainly couldn't:  "Lord, you will never wash my feet!"

Yet there He is, doing that and so much more for us.  What is our response?

Below is a setting of words Jesus would speak to the disciples shortly after (Jn 14:15ff).  Enjoy His love!

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