Holy Thursday is the special day we remember all the wonderful gifts Jesus gave us. Jesus comes together with his friends, why? To celebrate Passover. (The Gospel is from John 13: 1 – 15.) Passover remembers the time the people of Israel were slaves in Egypt, and the Egyptians made them suffer very much. God wanted to save them; how did He begin to save them? With a special meal, the Passover. Every year the Jewish people celebrate Passover to remember God’s gift of freedom.
Jesus was a good Jew and celebrated Passover every year, but on this special night, the night before he was going to die, Jesus had his Last Supper with his friends and wanted to celebrate his gift of greater freedom, freedom from sin, freedom from death, the gift Jesus was giving them the next day by his death on the cross.
On this special night, Jesus knew he had full power from God his Father and wanted to show his followers, us, how to use this great power. Jesus became a humble servant. He went to each of the people there at the Last Supper and washed their feet. They did not have clean feet; they all walked on the dirty roads of the country. But Jesus kneeled down in front of each one and washed each person’s feet. Were all the people there perfect? No. All saints? No. All holy? No. One of them was Judas. Jesus knew Judas was planning to betray him. Jesus wanted to change Judas’s mind, change his heart. Maybe Jesus looked up at Judas and his eyes showed he was begging Judas not to do what he was planning. Jesus did not want to force Judas, but Jesus loved Judas and wanted his love to change Judas. But Jesus failed. Jesus still washed the feet of the man who would soon lead the soldiers to grab him.
Now use your imagination: Jesus kneels in front of you. Jesus, Son of God, kneels in front of you, wants to wash your feet. What do you think? How do you feel? Will you let him?
Jesus kneels in front of Peter. Peter says, “No, Lord, you cannot wash my feet; it is not right.” Peter wants things to happen his way; he does not want the Lord’s way. Jesus says, “You do not understand now, but you will understand later. Now you must accept what I do. You do not accept means you cannot be with me.” Peter says, “ Lord, wash all of me. I want always to be with you.” We are often the same. We want everything to happen MY WAY. The Lord’s way may be a different way, and we have to accept the Lord’s way. Not always easy to do, but necessary to do.
Jesus gives us an example, an example of humble service. We humans want to control, to be the boss. Jesus’s way is different, not to be the boss, not to control everything. Jesus’s way is humbly to serve, to help, to do good generously. Jesus’s way is always the best way, not always the easy way, but always the best way. You and I need to change, become humble servants, wanting the best for the other person, not the best for me, the best for the other person. Then we become more and more like Jesus.