THE PASSION OF CHRIST ACCORDING TO
St John 13: 1-17, 34-35
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you." For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean."
After he had washed their feet, put on his robe and returned to the table, Jesus said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them… I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Reflection- Kingly Humility
The first of these Holy Week reflections involved a meal at Bethany. Now again, on the Thursday evening we find Jesus and the disciples sharing a meal together, a meal which begins in a shocking way, namely Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Foot washing for guests who had walked through dusty streets was a common ritual, normally offered by a humble servant; thus Peter’s protest. On Palm Sunday the people hailed Jesus as a king and here we see the true nature of that kingship in humility and service. God’s Messiah is not a mighty warrior come to free Israel from Roman occupation; rather he is a servant king and it is this model of service that the Church is called to follow. In one of his hymns Brian Wren perfectly captures the moment in the line: ‘We strain to glimpse your mercy-seat/and find you kneeling at our feet’.
Jesus, Lord and Master, who served your disciples in washing their feet; serve us often, serve us daily, in washing our motives, our ambitions, our actions; that we may share with you in your mission to the world, and serve others gladly for your sake; to whom be glory for ever, Amen. (Michael Ramsey)
Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart)
Jesu, Lamb of God, Redeemer, born the Virgin Mary’s Son,
Who upon the Cross a victim, hast our salvation won.
From whose side which we had pierced flowed the water and the blood,
By thy sacred body broken be in life and death our food.