"If I washed your feet — I Who am Teacher and Lord — then you must wash each other's feet. What I just did was to give you an example." —John 13:14-15
Jesus is the Lamb, the Paschal Lamb, the Symbol of liberation from slavery (see Ex 12:3ff). However, Jesus did the work of a slave when He washed the apostles' feet (Jn 13:4ff). How can Jesus be both the Liberator and the Slave?
Jesus first liberates us not from the circumstances but in the circumstances. Jesus did not seek to escape death but freely gave Himself up to death. He was first free in death and then was free from death when He rose from the dead. Jesus first freely emptied Himself and took the form of a slave (Phil 2:7). Later, He was exalted and given the name above every other name (Phil 2:9). Jesus first freely became sin in that He took on our sinful human condition (2 Cor 5:21). Then, He set us free from sin. Jesus first freely descended into the realm of the dead (1 Pt 3:18-19). Then, He conquered death.
When Jesus washed the apostles' feet and died on the cross, He did the work and died the death of a slave. However, He was the most liberated Person Who has ever lived — even while He was a slave, not just when He rose from the dead.
When we receive Holy Communion on this Holy Thursday, we are saying that we want Jesus, the Slave-Liberator, to live within us. We tell Him we are willing to be enslaved to and liberated by Him.
Prayer: Father, may I be awed by the implications of receiving Your eucharistic, crucified, and risen Son.
Promise: "This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me." —1 Cor 11:24
Praise: Praise the eucharistic Jesus, Who humbles Himself for our sake!
Reference: (As Lent draws to a close, continue to grow in your faith through our Seek First the Kingdom retreat, Apr 16-17. Call 937-587-5464.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 9, 2009
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