“I have given you a model to follow” Holy Thursday

On Holy Thursday the Roman Catholic Church and many others have a two part celebration: first there is the washing of feet, then the celebration of Holy Communion after which the blessed bread is placed in repose until Easter. The Gospel is John 13:1-15 and it is where Jesus washes the feet of the disciples and says he is giving them, and us, a model of serving one another. (John 13: 15) For all who participate it is a most wonderful spiritual and communal experience and a time of deep reflection on one’s own life and on the Christ who gave us this model, not only then but throughout his ministry and who gave us his very self.
We may meditate on the following pictures and homily by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP who discusses yet another meaning of Jesus’washing the disciple’s feet.

From Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta

In each of our lives Jesus comes as the Bread of Life–to be eaten, to be consumed by us. This is how He loves us.

Then Jesus comes in our human life as the hungry one, the other, hoping to be fed with the Bread of our life, our hearts by loving, and our hands by serving.

In loving and serving, we prove that we have been created in the likeness of God, for God is Love and when we love we are like God.

–Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “Jesus Christ: He Wants to Love With Our Hearts and Serve With Our Hands,” 1997.

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Below: Rev. Roy Bourgeois and Rev. Janice Sevre-Dusynska ARCWP and Rev. Jane Via,RCWP wash the feet of those attending a rally for the ordination of women priests last Holy Thursday in Washington, DC.

Above Rev. Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia blessing the bread for the Eucharist

Dando la Eucaristía a los niños de Colegio Educativo Navarro
Below Rev. Marina Teresa, RCWP serving Holy Communion to a young boy

Rev. Beverly Bingle’s Homily

Lent is over, and the Triduum begins.
Over the next three days,
you and I will give witness to Jesus’ commitment
to live in love and truth,
faithful to God’s will,
even at the cost of his life.
The commitment transforms him,
as it transforms us
when we ground ourselves
in God’s unconditional love
and Jesus’ prophetic example.
Tonight we begin the Triduum
by following Jesus’ example
with a ritual washing of each other’s hands.
Jesus’ simple action, as told in John’s gospel,
lends itself to several interpretations.
It’s very often interpreted
as signifying that Jesus will suffer a humiliating death
on behalf of all humanity.
A related interpretation
reads the washing of dirty, smelly feet
as the act of a slave,
showing Jesus’ humble nature.
Another interpretation
looks at the meaning of Jesus’ actions
in their cultural context.
In biblical times
people looked at hands and feet
as a zone of the human body
that symbolized human activity.
To wash the feet or hands
was to wash away
all the offensive deeds done by those hands and feet,
so the washing was equal to forgiveness.
When Jesus tells his disciples to repeat his action for each other,
he is not telling them to go around washing everybody’s feet
but to forgive each other as he forgives them.
Another significant message in this Holy Thursday gospel
comes from the meal
that Jesus has called his disciples to share.
In the Middle East
unrelated people rarely, if ever, eat together,
but people saw Jesus regularly eating with others—
people who were not his relatives,
people who opposed him,
people who were strangers and aliens in the land.
Sharing a meal with someone who was not a blood relative
transformed that person into a family member,
one who became connected like family,
one committed to the giving of oneself
for the others at the table.
So we gather here in this holy space.
Some of us are relatives—
spouses, parents and children, brothers and sisters.
As a group, though,
we are just like those first followers of Jesus—
not relatives in the usual sense of the word
but children of the one God
invited by our brother Jesus
to forgive one another
by washing each other’s hands,
welcomed into the family
through our sharing of the meal.
Forgiven and fed,
we will go forth
ready to practice God’s love
in our world
for our time.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Holy Thursday, April 13, 5:30 p.m. Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Easter Mass of the Resurrection, Saturday, April 15, 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue
Toledo, OH 43606
(Washington Church)


Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006


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