“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14-15)
In today’s first reading, God gave the people of Israel instructions regarding the Passover. Every family was to gather to eat a lamb whose blood will be sprinkled on the doorposts of their houses. They were to eat the flesh that night roasted with unleavened bread, loins girded; sandals on their feet, and in haste.
God said to Moses: “For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you, upon the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you to destroy you.”(Exodus 12:12-13).
It is important to note that it was on the anniversary of the Passover, on a night like this, at that same time that the lambs were being slaughtered that Jesus in a gathering of his disciples “slaughtered” himself by giving us His very body and blood in Holy Communion. Tonight, as St. Paul narrates in our second reading, we commemorate the very first Mass, the very first occasion where Jesus transubstantiated bread and wine into His body and blood.
So, rather than having to smear our doors with the blood of lambs, the body and blood of Jesus now serve as our Passover from death and destruction. No wonder Jesus himself said in John 6:53, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”
During his temptations, the devil wanted Jesus to appear great before everyone by jumping from the pinnacle of the temple but Jesus refused; he chose to follow the path of humility. As our Passover Lamb, Jesus chose to make himself available to us in the form of bread and wine, the cheapest and most available food as at that time.
Jesus not only humbled himself, but he also taught us the importance of humility by washing the feet of His disciples; a task allotted to slaves in the Jewish culture. “For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:15). Let us examine our conscience today. Do I take joy in serving others? Do I feel that I deserve to be worshipped as a result of the position I hold in the church or in civil society?
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, teach me to sacrifice for the wellbeing of others and help me to always humble myself. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Maundy Thursday – Bible Study: Exodus 12:1-8,11-14, Ps. 116:12-13,15-18, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-15).
@Fr. E. Eghiemeiyo Abu