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GOSPEL COMMENTARIES


 

 

 

LAST SUPPER (HOLY THURSDAY A)

Christ took on a human body to teach us virtue. "Learn from Me for I am MEEK and HUMBLE of heart.  And these He taught, not by words alone but by actions also.

The Pharisees called Christ a Samaritan, a devil, a deceiver; they tried to cast stones at Him, they plotted against Him, yet they found no fault in Him. And Christ continued to do good to them ,  both by words and deeds. And so to those who plotted against Him, He said, "If I have done evil, prove it. If I have done only what is good, why do you strike Me?"

Christ had more reason to hate Judas; because, being a disciple, having shared the same table, having seen the miracles, his sin was worse than stoning and insulting Christ. Yet, Christ received him in a friendly way, even washing his feet in a last ditch effort to restrain him from his wickedness. It was within Christ's power to have him struck down. But, no. Christ wanted him to abandon his evil plan by choice and not by compulsion. So, Christ washed his feet; and not even by this was that wretched and miserable man shamed.

Now, the devil, having put into the heart of Judas to betray Him. . .Judas was a man who had already chosen to betray Christ.

From the beginning and even now, Christ is teaching HUMBLEMINDEDNESS. This is the beginning and the end of virtue. And so, ". . .having risen from supper and laid aside His garments. . ." Christ showed more humility. He rose from table when everyone was reclining; he put off His garments; He girded Himself with a towel; He Himself filled the basin and washed the feet of His disciples. . .all by Himself, without anyone assisting Him. He even washed the feet of Judas.

Then He came to Peter. The other apostles would also have objected but what happened to Peter prevented them from objecting. Only Judas did not object.

Judas seems to have been the first to recline at table; that's why Christ washed his feet first. In eating, he was also first in dipping bread with Christ.; and, as Christ convicted him, he felt no compassion.

But Peter, corrected once, was so abashed. "Lord dost thou wash my feet?"  "What I am doing, you do not understand, but later you will." I am teaching you humility and you, Peter, are disturbing My lesson by saying: "Thou shalt not wash my feet." Peter was preventing a good act so that he became an offense to Christ: "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me."

". . .no part with Me."   This is what Peter feared and dreaded the most. . .to be separated from Christ. And so vehement in deprecation, Peter became more vehement in acquiescence.

"All of you are clean. . but not all."  Who are clean? Isaias says, those who take care of the fatherless and those who plead for the widows.  "Even if your sins are scarlet, I will make them white as snow."

It is a most grievous thing to come to the depths of wickedness. It is easier not to fall into sin than to fall and try to recover. Judas threw himself into sin; though he enjoyed great assistance from Christ, Himself, he was not able to rise.

"If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye ought also to wash one another's feet." No, this is not in imitation of Me. I am Lord and Master, washing the feet of servants; you are servants washing the feet of fellow servants."

St. John Chrysostom,  "On the Gospel of John"

 

 

 

 

 

(02-02-04)

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