As the last supper drew to a close, Jesus had less than 24 hours to live. It was time to speak his last words to his friends. But what could he say? His sadness was so great. So, at first he said nothing. In John’s gospel there is no account of the institution of the Eucharist at the last supper. Instead there is an account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. When I was a curate in St Mirin’s Cathedral, a Church of Scotland minister used to come and give us his copies of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. I knew that he often slipped into Mass in St. Charles’ Church and he would attend Holy Hours in both churches. I was convinced that he was not coming to honour a symbol. He could have done that in his own church. So, why did he come? Could he hear the words of Jesus ringing in his ears? “Do this in memory of Me”. If a Church of Scotland minister took the words of Jesus the Christ at their face value, should any Catholic do less? Perhaps we should reflect on the words of St. Pio of Pietrelcina….Padre Pio, particularly in these days when we are unable to attend Holy Mass. He said, “If we only knew how God regards this Sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single Mass.” The Mass of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist contains this strange custom of the Washing of the Feet. The feet are the lowliest part of the body: the closest to the ground, the most humble. God reaches out to us in Christ even beyond the closed doors of our churches. And He does so in love. We need never be without the comfort and strength of His presence. He washes our feet – a tender reminder of his service and undying affection. He fed the disciples, he washed their feet, and then he went out to die.
Let us Pray:
God our Father,
we pray for your Church called to renewal at this time, that our faith will be stronger,
hope more secure and charity ever more generous.
Through Christ our Lord.