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Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the fist month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily; it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt, I am the Lord. The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.’”

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.” In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.” Until the Lord come, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.

John 13:1-15

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.

They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist, he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “Never!” said Peter. “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.” “Then, Lord,” said Simon Peter, “not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus said, “No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.” He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, “though not all of you are.”

When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. “Do you understand,” he said, “what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed you feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.”

In both the first reading of the Mass, God gave his people some instructions that they may or may not have understood at that time. Like when God said that he would “pass over” the land of Egypt, do you think that all the Israelites understood what he meant? Were there some who were skeptical about it? Probably. We are not told whether there were any Israelites who did not obey God’s instructions, but there might have been a few. Nonetheless, the majority, if not all, of the Israelites obeyed the instructions given.

As one community, they ate the first Passover meal as instructed, and they put blood on the doorposts and the lintel (horizontal beam used as a finishing piece over a door) of their houses; and as one community, they were spared the plague that struck the land of Egypt.

In the gospel reading, Jesus does something that the disciples did not understand at that time - Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. He asked to wash their feet and one by one, they obeyed, though they did not understand. Simon Peter is initially disobedient to Jesus, because of his pride. It is not easy to have someone wash your feet, let alone your Master and Lord. Jesus tells Peter that if Peter is disobedient, even though he does not understand why Jesus is doing what he is doing, then Peter will not be in communion with him.

As we can see, obedience and humility are crucial to being in communion with our Lord Jesus, for Jesus too was obedient and humble. He was obedient to his heavenly Father, and humble enough to accept a cruel death even though he was innocent. Jesus didn’t want to die, just like Peter did not want his feet washed by Jesus. But obedience often means doing something that we do not want to do. And when this happens, humility becomes crucial, because it is humility that will allow us to obey when we do not want to do, or do not understand why we are asked to do it.

Heavenly Father, we offer to you disobedient and proud Catholics who do not understand what you are asking of them. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we ask you to grant them a new heart, one that is obedient and humble, that they may listen to the words of those who, through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, has been given power over them, so that the communion of your holy Church may be restored. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: The example of Christ that we have been given to copy.

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