Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Acts 13:13-25 + John 13:16-20
May 11, 2017
“‘…whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.’”
Why, throughout the Season of Easter, does the Gospel passage at Holy Mass narrate the events leading up to the Passion and Death of Jesus? One reason is practical. When from the four Gospel accounts the narratives taking place following the Resurrection are put together, there are still relatively few passages for proclamation: certainly not enough for the entire Easter Season.
There’s also a theological reason for the Church proclaiming during Easter “pre-Resurrection” narratives. This reason is illustrated in the narrative of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Christ runs through all the Scriptures (to them, Old Testament passages) that refer to Him and His suffering, death and Resurrection. The meaning of the Old Testament, and of all the events in the life of Jesus from before His Resurrection, are seen in a new light once Christ has risen from the dead.
So it is with today’s Gospel passage, which takes place before the Last Supper, immediately after Jesus’ washing of the apostles’ feet. In the light of Jesus’ crucifixion and death, this simple act of foot washing takes on greater meaning, as do Jesus’ words here: “no slave is greater than his master”. What do we learn about our own place as Jesus’ disciples—servants of His Father—if the Master took up for us, and died upon, the cross that we deserved?