Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper Year B by Fr. I. A. Mensah 

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Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper Year B by Fr. I. A. Mensah

First Reading: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18
Second Reading: First Corinthians 11:23-26
Gospel: John 13:1-15


Introduction: There’s no love without sacrifice

A picture and video of Pope Francis who kissed the feet of South Sudan’s previously warring leaders during a two-day spiritual retreat at the Vatican went viral. In that video we heard the Roman Pontiff saying, “I am asking you as a brother to stay in peace. I am asking you with my heart, let us go forward”. This unprecedented nay kind gesture got many people talking and hailing praises on the Pope. The Holy father just emulated the example of Jesus in our gospel reading of today, when he didn’t only wash the feet of the apostles but also handed them a new commandment of love.

Explanation of the text

Today we celebrate the night of institution of the Holy Eucharist and the Ministerial Priesthood and a new commandment of love. Our first reading taking from the book of Exodus recounts the story of the Passover. How God instructed Moses and his brother Aaron to call the assembly and impressed upon them to kill an unblemished lamb and smear the blood on their doorposts. They were to eat the roasted meat with bitter herbs to remind them of their bitter experiences in Egypt and bread without yeast. The event of the Passover foreshadows the institution of the Eucharist in our gospel reading of today by Jesus Himself.

In John 1:29, John the Baptist referred to Jesus in the crowd as “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”. Tonight the Lamb of God breaks Himself up to His apostles and pours His blood for them to salvage humanity from the dungeons and abyss of sin and death. This is exactly what St Paul collaborates in our second reading.

It is within the context of Eucharistic meal that Jesus Christ also demonstrated an unparalleled love by washing the feet of the twelve apostles; that which is done by a servant in the household. Even though he knows that His friends would betray and desert him very soon. Peter tried to resist initially but Jesus impressed upon him to submit himself for the washing of the feet. I am just imagining what was going through the mind of Jesus at the time, knowing very well that these guys will abandon him in no time. But He did it out of love. He himself has said that “there’s no greater love for a man than for another to lay down his life for a fellow” ( John 15:13).

Tonight Jesus offers his life in bread, wine, and washing. By his example and command we are to remove the shoes and socks of another, receive their feet, their life, into our hands, and wash. We are to remove our shoes and socks, place our feet, our life, into the hands of another, and be washed. This is the way of Christ, the way of love. It is a choice not just for tonight but every day and every night, not just in the liturgy but in the world. And the lesson of course is this: Jesus washes feet, God washes feet, and until we learn to wash feet, to serve others, no conditions, no counting the cost, but to learn to serve others, then we will know that it is God who washes our feet and it is God’s Son who dies on a cross for us. Let us remember that there’s no love without sacrifice. Indeed to love means to sacrifice.



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