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On the eve of his passion and death, the Lord Jesus wanted to gather his Apostles around him once again to entrust his last instructions to them and to give them the supreme witness of his love.
Let us also enter the large upper room furnished and ready (Mark 14;15), and dispose ourselves to listen to the most intimate thoughts that he wants to confide to us; in particular, let us be ready to receive the act and the gift that he has prepared in view of this final evening.
So, while they are eating, Jesus rises from the table and begins to wash the disciples’ feet.  At first Peter resists, then he understands and accepts. We too are asked to understand: the first thing the disciple must do is to prepare himself to listen to the Lord, opening his heart to accept the initiative of  his love.  Only then will he be invited, in turn, to do what the Teacher did.  He too must be committed to “washing the feet” of his brothers and sisters, expressing in gestures of mutual service that love which is the synthesis of the whole Gospel (see John 13:1-20).
Also during the Supper, knowing that his “hour” had now come, Jesus blesses and breaks the bread, then gives it to the Apostles saying: This is my body, he does the same with the cup: This is my blood. And commands them: Do this in memory of me (1 Corinthians 11:24-25). Truly this is the witness of love taken to the end (John 13:1).  Jesus gives himself as food to his disciples to become one with them.  Once again the “lesson” emerges that we must learn: the first thing to do is to open our hearts to welcoming the love of Christ.  It is his iniative: it is his love that enables us, in turn, to love our brethren.
Therefore, the washing of the feet and the sacrament of the Eucharist: two expressions of one and the same mystery of love entrusted to the disciples, so that, Jesus says, as I have done … so also must you do (John 13;15).

John Paul II – Homily, Mass of the Lord’s supper (Holy Thursday) April 17, 2003

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