Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18
Second Reading: First Corinthians 11:23-26
Gospel: John 13:1-15
The Last Supper begins a serious of mysterious events that will culminate in the Resurrection of Our Lord. Although most of these events are centered on Christ, one curious event in particular stands out as being centered on the disciples: the washing of the feet.
It is mysterious because Christ did it to confer grace upon his disciples, but it is also odd that it was the Master doing this for his disciples. Because of this oddity, we see 3 types of responses:
- Puzzled acceptance of what Jesus is doing. Jesus acknowledges their confusion when he asks them, "Do you realize what I have done for you?" He gives a short answer to them by telling them, "I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do." The fullest answer will be delivered to them by the Holy Spirit, when they realize that this is, like in Exodus 29, part of the anointing and ordination of the priests of the New Covenant in his Blood.
- Refusal to accept the act of washing. Peter did this out of a sense of respect and humility toward Humility Incarnate. However, when Jesus tells Peter that it must be done, lest he not inherit this new priesthood, Peter forgets Exodus 29:20 (that only the tips of the body need to be anointed) and demands that his entire body be washed. Jesus reminds Peter that he has bathed already, because as Pope Benedict XVI said, "the disciples were washed in the blood of Christ". The only reason the feet need to be washed is because they are to walk in the world (which is dirty with sin), but the rest of their bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, with their minds in Heaven.
- Refusal to accept the prupose of the washing. This is what Judas did, which is why, even after washing his feet, Jesus still points out that "not all of you are clean." This is a reminder that, in spite of the great blessings, gifts, and sacrifices of Christ that are being given to us, we still have a will of our own that can refuse salvation. God desires the salvation of all of us, but we are free to not accept it and say, "I will not serve." "Once saved, always saved," is a myth, for the life preserver can be thrown to us and we can accept it and then let go at any time, albeit to our own peril and death.
Please pray for all our deacons, priests, and bishops, that they will always reply "I will serve," as they wash each other’s feet and offer for us the perpetual memorial feast of the Lamb of God in the Eucharist.