The Gospel according to John (13:16-20)
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.’ From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
Today’s gospel takes place while Jesus is teaching his apostles their greatest lesson. He has just washed their feet as a sign and example that they are to do the same for each other. Not only that but this is what they are being called to do as his followers for everyone. And in their midst is the presence of betrayal brought on by Satan’s influence on Judas. At such a crucial moment, when Jesus is pouring out his heart to his closest friends, evil is hard at work.
In verse 17 Jesus says, “If you understand this, blessed are you.” The apostles have followed Jesus for several years. They have witnessed countless miracles, heard him teach both in public and just to them, they have come to believe he was the messiah. But this was a hard lesson because Jesus insisted that to follow him meant that everything must be turned upside down. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. And on top of everything else, the end of Jesus’ life is imminent, and they will have to carry on his mission.
From the very beginning of his ministry Jesus always directed the attention to his Father. The Father sent him to speak on his behalf. He said that everything was from the father, and he sent Jesus so that we might be saved. Jesus’ example of humility and service in washing the feet of the apostles is both and example of how to treat each other and a foreshadowing of his final and greatest act of love and service. He would show everyone that he was willing to suffer and die for us. This was the path he showed them. The one they would have to take to follow him. They were being sent by the one who was sent by God. If we understand, we too will be blessed if we serve each other with a willingness to give everything like the one who sends us.
Action of the day:
Following Christ is often difficult. However, if our motivation is pure and sincere then we will be able to follow his example of service and sacrifice. What are we willing to do, how far are we willing to go to imitate the humility of Jesus. Take this to prayer and see what grace reveals.