(Exodus 12:1-8.11-14; I Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15)
Few things capture more concern these days than food. There has always been interest in how to prepare delicious meals but today’s preoccupation is with the raw contents of those dishes. Experts tell us to buy organic whenever possible. They say that foods of different colors make the most wholesome diet. They strongly advise blueberries and walnuts for their anti-oxidants which ward off disease. In today’s second reading St. Paul prescribes a traditional food that has infinitely greater consequences than the fare placed on the dining table.
Paul has just described to the Corinthians the necessity for church unity. Now he emphasizes the source of that unity. He tells them that the Eucharist which they share is really the body and blood of Christ. Therefore, he concludes, when they look down upon one another, they abuse the real presence of the Lord. The gospel passage from John, magnifies the truth. In coming together for the Lord’s Supper, it advises, people should be prepared to help one another. As Jesus says, “If I, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.”
This evening’s celebration prepares us in a simple way for the powerful events that we are to experience tomorrow and Saturday. It dramatically shows how love is the motive of the paschal mystery. For love Jesus died on the cross to save us from becoming casualties of our sins. He rises from the dead to provide us with a share in his love that we might assist in the work of salvation.