It is simple, so simple that it is easy to miss it: the unbreakable link between the two actions performed by Jesus in today’s Gospel. On the one hand, He instituted the Eucharist and left it as the memorial of His Passion, Death, and Resurrection; on the other hand, He showed us the proper way to participate in it, that is, through loving service. In other words, participating in the Eucharist cannot be separated from the unappealing task of washing feet.
You see? It is simple: the true nature of our Christian vocation consists in participating in these simple actions: eating, drinking, and washing feet – yes, even the feet of those who have betrayed us, who will not understand us or who doubt the true nature of our intentions, even as we wash their feet. At the end of the day, if performed with faith, love, and hope, our actions will help us become what we eat and drink and will lead us to see the small, simple ways in which we can contribute to the installation of the Reign of God here on earth.
This Holy Thursday, let us heed St. Augustine’s exhortation: “become what you see, and receive what you are.”
– St. Augustine, Sermon 272 (to Catechumens on Pentecost concerning the Eucharist).