We all know the story of the Last Supper. In so many ways it was the most significant meal in our history.
Yet… do we get lost in the words “Do this in memory of me? Is that the only thing Jesus wanted his disciple to remember and focus on?
There is no doubt he was leaving the apostles very specific instructions! We hear those words every time the community gathers to celebrate the Eucharist.
In this Vincentian Mindwalk Join me in exploring what else he asked of us.
Celebrating God’s Presence
We certainly have so much to celebrate.
God is with us under the appearance of bread and wine… and through the Word.
And God is with us where two or three are gathered in God’s name.
God is with us in each other.
What else Jesus asked his disciples to do
Certainly, a lot to celebrate! But, in recent years I am beginning increasingly waking up to what else Jesus said and did. After the celebration of our community with God and one another I fear we miss what is commonly spoken of as “a takeaway” from this celebration of God in our midst!
We often use “the takeaway’ as summarizing what comes next, what needs to be done. What did Jesus tell us should be our takeway?
Actually, Jesus was quite clear!
John tells us that Jesus stood, he began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. Something slaves did for their masters!
Then Jesus explained to them that he had set an example for them. He pointedly asked them “do you understand what I have done?” He spelled out his point. “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:12-15)
What could be clearer?
“Foot washing disciples
He had often said… “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)
In washing the feet of his disciples, he was leaving no room for misunderstanding the meaning of “Love one another!”
This love was not limited to when it feels good to do so. Nor was it limited to responding to something asked. It was taking the initiative do what needed to be done… what we would like someone to do for us. It was not limited to those who “deserved” our love or “earned “ our love.
He was telling them… and us… that it this would be the “imitation of Christ.” We are to become “Foot-washing disciples” of the “foot-washing Word made flesh!” He was calling us to a life-style!
The next day he would show us just how unconditional was foot-washing love of the Word made flesh!
Becoming “foot-washing disciples”
It would be easy to begin a list of the ways. Here I offer a counter-intuitive way of what that might mean in our lives.
“Whatever you do for the least of my brothers and sisters…”
Think about what you need most to become to become a whole person… understanding, forgiveness, encouragement, etc. Then, look around you. You might be surprised to see how many you know who look for that in their lives.
Knowing what it feels like from your own experience what it feels to need, take it a step further. Do unto them what you would have others unto you.
Wash the “feet of others” as “you would want your feet” to be washed!