April 2, 2015

The Gospel Today

Holy Thursday – Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

John 13:1-15

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

Reflection (Sem. Ivan Joseph F. Feniquito):

To share a meal is always a great time especially with my family – my dad, mom and sister. Before entering the seminary, we always gather together in the dining area to celebrate the company of one another. I remember that during meals, we would not eat until we were complete especially during breakfast and dinner. My mom used to cook food for us as we shared the food as a blessing from the Lord, the Source of all goodness. At table, we were happy eating frugal foods with one viand, rice and fruits. There were times that the left-over foods were served for lunch or dinner. I believe that during meal, it is not about the food, it is more than that, for we share the presence and love of each other, thus giving thanks to the Lord for the graces and gifts He has given to our family.

When I entered the seminary, I know that being with my family in the dining table would be impossible. It can only be possible during the semestral, Christmas or summer breaks, that is why, other than serving in the parish, I give quality time with my family especially during meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner. But still, even if I am not with my family right now, I realize what sustains me in my life are the memories we had together as one family. In the seminary, we eat in the refectory as a big family!

The Gospel for today brings the memory of the Last Supper of Jesus with His friends (family). It is like we celebrate our reunion of sort and try to relive the experience. In fact, we celebrate the Last Supper as we participate in the celebration of the Eucharist, not only during Holy Thursday, but every time we attend the Mass.

The Gospel invites me to remember Jesus as He gives an example of what humble and selfless service is all about. We all know that the memory is all we have of that great act of love that led to His death. I believe that being a witness and living out the message of the Gospel today is the best way to remember that same love and keep it alive.

In the seminary, we celebrate the Mass every day. It is a great blessing to me to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as I hear the Word of God and partake in the Body and Blood of Christ with the community. A question dawns on me about the genuineness of my participation in the Mass. I ask myself if I really have a genuine relationship with Him to look back to and to reminisce or I find myself kissing Him again in betrayal as I fall into sin sometimes after the celebration of the Mass?

Jesus asked the disciples, “Do you realize what I have done for you?” We can ask ourselves, “Do we really understand what He did for us?” As we continue our life, let us examine our conscience if we are really obeying Jesus as our Teacher. He had given a model of acting towards holiness. The challenge for us is to accept wholeheartedly what Jesus had done for us – the blessings, graces that we receive in our life and as we always participate in the celebration of the Eucharist. What have we become? Have we become a genuine follower of Christ? If not, I believe that it is not yet too late to heed the call of Jesus towards holiness and believe and share the Gospel in our words and deeds.

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