“I give you a new commandment, says the Lord; love one another as I have loved you”
Reflections on the readings for Holy Thursday (April 9, 2020): EX 12:1-8,11-14; PS 116:12-13,15-16,17-18; 1 COR 11:23-26; JN 13:1-15
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
Whenever we contemplate the life of Jesus, we come to recognize that whatever He says, whatever He does, and all that He is, reveals that God gives us more than the human mind could possibly imagine.
Christ came among His people to speak love, to show love, because He is love. The Holy Eucharist is a given to His people so that we might have His very flesh and blood, His spirit and divinity within our very being. In the Gospel according to St. John, Jesus tries to teach His Apostles what the love of God truly means. Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, takes off his outer garments, ties a towel around His waist and proceeds to wash their feet. He becomes their servant. Peter probably spoke for all of them when he resists having his Master do something so extraordinary because it is so humble. After Jesus does what He set out to do, He explains why to the shocked, uncomfortable, puzzled Apostles. “He said to them, ‘Do you realize what I have done for you? You call Me teacher and master, and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed you feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do’” (John 13:12-15).
Our Savior was instructing His beloved followers, then and now, how to love. The Lord of all was also the Servant of all and He expects us to imitate Him. This is clearly not a human way of seeing things. But we are called to a new viewpoint and a new commandment: love. And we can never love God if we do not love our brothers and sisters. If we do not serve them with the same generosity that Christ offered His Apostles the night before He was arrested, brutalized, and crucified. Jesus wants us to commit ourselves to making love visible in the way we treat others – whether or not we like them, or agree with them, or look like them. He gave everything for us, and asks us to do the same. Only then can we be ready for the glory of the Resurrection.
Suggested missionary action: Let us choose to follow the model Christ has given us, treating one another with respect and generosity. Like Him, let us choose to be gentle and humble of heart.