The Lord's Supper
Book of Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14, Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18,
1 Corinthians 11:23-26, & John 13:1-5
All of Christendom celebrates Easter. We celebrate the promise of Jesus that we also will rise again after our death to eternal life. The three holy days before Easter, the Sacrum Triduum, begins with tonight's celebration and ends with the Easter Solemnity.
The first reading, the psalm, and the second reading all focus our attention on the Eucharist, which is instituted in the "Last Supper" of Our Lord. However, for many of us, John's Gospel narrative of the "Last Supper" is a surprise and even a disappointment. Why all this attention on Jesus washing the feet of His disciples when He is giving us the Eucharist?
We may recall another meal in Luke 17:36 when a Pharisee invites Jesus to dine with him. The custom of the time was that the host would have his servants make the guests comfortable by cleaning their feet before they reclined at the table for a meal, conversation, and fellowship. This custom is what Jesus does for His disciples in the upper room.
But wait! This isn't just an ordinary meal but the Passover celebration when faithful Jews recall how Yahweh saved them from slavery and led them through the desert to their promised land. That event prefigures what Jesus is about to do for all of us in this paschal mystery of salvation we are celebrating. Additionally, Jesus is present to His disciples in this meal as the "suffering servant" of Isaiah.
This teaching moment of washing their feet before the meal is what Saint Paul refers to in Philippians 2:5 about how we should imitate our Messiah who did not depend on His divinity. He came among us as a servant, even to the point of dying on the cross.
Friends, before Jesus enters into this paschal mystery of suffering and dying for us so that we can rise again after our life of suffering and dying. Our Lord celebrates the Passover feast that points to that salvation. As the host, Jesus teaches His disciples and us that we need to serve others and not use our influence and authority over them. Only after this humble service of Jesus before the meal will Jesus then institute the Sacrament of His life, His love, and His presence among us—the Eucharist.
Question of the Day: Will you become a servant to others in the manner Jesus taught His disciples?
Prayer: "Our Blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ." (1 Cor. 10:16)