Exodus 12:1-8,11-14; Psalm 115(116):12-13,15-18; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15
Now he showed how perfect his love was
Tonight we will celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper. During this, Christ performs a most astonishing gesture - he washes the feat of his disciples. The slave who would do this task for others was the lowest of the lowest slaves - open sandles or bare feat that had walked on paths shared with beasts of burden - one can imagine the state they would have been in. Paul protests - then asks Jesus to wash him completely.
But this service points to the far greater act of service Jesus knew he had to perform over the next day - that of his submission unto the cross in his crucifixion. This most humiliating form of execution was used by the Romans to subdue the peoples they had conquered. The victims were stripped naked, nailed to the crossbeam and left to die from exposure, suffocation and pain over several days in a very public place. Their corpse usually was left to rot in the open still fixed to the wood. Jesus died quickly as his suffering was accentuated by his flogging and beating before. Scourging itself often led to death from blood loss and shock. His body was removed - unusual and perhaps a sign of Pilate's uncertainty over the legitimacy of the execution.
In his final hours, Jesus completed the perfect passover eucharist: this starts at the Lord's last passover supper and concluded with the shedding of his blood on the cross. We now at every mass celebrate the same eucharist given to us by christ through the human work of our priests. The bread we receive, and the wine that we drink are the very same Lords sacrifice as he gave that evening in Jerusalem those years ago.