Page 90 - Lent2012v3b

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Holy Thursday
Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16BC, 17-18
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-15
This is the last supper. The emphasis is ˄last˅. Look therefore for the primacy of
the final teaching of Jesus to his gathered community.
This is ˄the hour˅. In the language of John it means the moment of critical teach-
ing. ˄He loved them to the end˅. The Greek ˄eis telos˅ can mean literally to the
end or ˄to the full extent˅.
In this context the washing of feet before a meal was a gesture of hospitality. The
practice was customary whereas the feet of the guest were washed by a servant
or by oneself. However the example of Jesus was to love to the end, to the full
extent. Notice how much detail makes up the narrative. ˈHe rose from the meal
and took off his cloak. He picked up a towel and he tied it around himself. And
then he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciple˅s feet and dry
them with the towel he had around him.ˉ
No one is excluded, not even the betrayer or the one who would deny him. Peter
must retire his protests and give himself over, helpless, to the ritual of cleansing
and hospitality in Jesus.
And this happens at Eucharist. There is clearly an affinity of discipleship between
Eucharist and humble service: the openness, welcome, generosity and affirmation
of belonging witnessed by Jesus.
And his teachingˎ.ˉafter he had washed their feet he put his cloak back on, re-
clined at the table once more. He said to them ˈdo you understand what I just did
for you?ˉ if I wash your feet ˀ I who am teacher and Lord - then you must wash
each other˅s feet. What I just did was to give you an example. As I have done, so
you must do.ˉ In Jesus Eucharist and service become one. For it is never just to