“I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” – John 13:15
(Note: It’s been a while since my last post. My wife and I enjoyed some time visiting family and friends while traveling around the country. It was great to be away but it is also good to be back home!)
Holy Thursday traditionally has two celebrations – one lead by the Bishop of a particular diocese where the Holy oils are consecrated. These oils are to be used throughout the year in the celebration of the sacraments. The oils that consecrated are: the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick, and the Holy Chrism. The second celebration is the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. This Mass celebrates the institution of the Holy Eucharist. The passage I’ve chosen for my reflection comes from this celebration of the Mass.
John’s gospel is the only one that shares the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper. This passage from the Gospel of John echos the ministry of service which Jesus lived throughout his life. Even at the beginning of his ministry, Jesus announced how important this ministry of service was. He quotes from the prophet Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16-21)
It’s not about who’s in and who’s out or who’s the greatest (which the apostles seem to want to discuss often). Rather, it is the call to live out the second great commandment – love your neighbor as yourself.
This commandment was brought home to my wife and I as we began our trip to visit family and friends. We began this trip as the winter storm Olympia was heading across the country. Unaware of this weather event as we were too busy making our preparations and getting the car packed, when all was ready, we got started. All was going well until we started to enter into the storm’s path. The snow kept getting worse as we headed south. We encountered several vehicles off the side of the road and some fender benders. Though we avoided any trouble with the snow, we did, however, have a flat tire. While waiting for our road service provider to answer the phone (we had been on hold for over 30 minutes), a young man (also an EMT) who was volunteering his time because of the storm, stopped to check on us. We were very grateful. He graciously assisted us in changing the tire and made sure that we were okay to continue with our travel. Isn’t that “foot washing”? We sure thought so!
How might you be called to live out the model of service Jesus exemplified in today’s gospel?