Sunday Readings

Holy Thursday Readings (B)

Priest Andrea Mardegan comments on the readings of Holy Thursday (B) 

Andrea Mardegan-March 29, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes

Photo: The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci. ©Wikipedia Commons

We remember the institution of the Eucharist, but we read the beginning of chapter 13 of John, which is the beginning of the narration of the "hour of Jesus", for which He was preparing since the beginning of the Gospel. An "hour" that lasts twenty-four hours, narrated in seven chapters of John. 

The "hour of passing from this world to the Father": a passage immersed in the extreme love He has always had for us and which, in that hour, is manifested to the extreme, éis telosuntil full compliance: "Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.". John does not speak of the Eucharist, but describes the washing of the feet. He tells us that we can understand the Eucharist through the washing of the feet, and vice versa. He quotes Judas, named after a tribe of Israel, and Simon Peter, chosen by Jesus as the rock on which to found his Church. Jesus washes the feet of all the people of Israel and of the whole Church. In Judas and Peter we are all represented, the human race that God has come to save.  

God saves us by washing our feet. It is the gesture of a slave who did not belong to the chosen people, but it is also the loving gesture of a wife to her husband. In the Story of the beautiful Joseph and his wife Asenetha 1st century A.D. work that tells the love story between Joseph of Egypt and his wife, we read that Aseneth brings water to wash his feet, and Joseph tells her: "Have one of the maids come and wash my feet.". Aseneth replies: "No sir, for my hands are your hands, and your feet are my feet, and no other shall wash your feet.". "Then Joseph took his right hand and kissed it, and Aseneth kissed his head.". In Jesus' gesture we contemplate the total love that God has for us. 

Eight times John cites the "wash the feet", and with eight verbs it describes the action of Jesus. It is the number of fullness. For eight times, because like Peter, it is difficult for us to accept that God loves us in this way. He does not humble himself, but loves, and love is humble. Jesus is God in his power: "He knew that the Father had placed everything in his hands."He answers Peter, who does not accept this true image of God, with God's authority: "If I don't wash you, you'll have no part with me.". In the "all" that Jesus holds in his hands, there are also our feet, our whole walk, our weariness and the dust. Taking off his garments, he does freely what the soldiers on Calvary will do, he abandons all human defenses and girds himself with the garments of a servant and with a towel, which he will never leave, not even when he puts on his clothes again. For He has begun to wash our feet and to dry them, and He will not finish until the end of human history. 

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