Lord's Supper


Pope Francis   28.03.13   Holy Thursday  Mass of The Lord's Supper  Prison for Minors, Casal del Marmo, Rome           John 13:12-15

This is moving. Jesus, washing the feet of his disciples. Peter didn’t understood it at all, he refused. But Jesus explained it for him. Jesus – God – did this! He himself explains to his disciples: “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord – and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (Jn 13:12-15).

It is the Lord’s example: he is the most important, and he washes feet, because with us what is highest must be at the service of others. This is a symbol, it is a sign, right? Washing feet means: “I am at your service”. And with us too, don’t we have to wash each other’s feet day after day? But what does this mean? That all of us must help one another. Sometimes I am angry with someone or other … but… let it go, let it go, and if he or she asks you a favour, do it.


Help one another: this is what Jesus teaches us and this what I am doing, and doing with all my heart, because it is my duty. As a priest and a bishop, I must be at your service. But it is a duty which comes from my heart: I love it. I love this and I love to do it because that is what the Lord has taught me to do. But you too, help one another: help one another always. One another. In this way, by helping one another, we will do some good.

Now we will perform this ceremony of washing feet, and let us think, let each one of us think: “Am I really willing, willing to serve, to help others?”. Let us think about this, just this. And let us think that this sign is a caress of Jesus, which Jesus gives, because this is the real reason why Jesus came: to serve, to help us.









Pope Francis    02.04.15  Mass of the Lord's Supper "Our Father" Church Rebibbia New Complex District Prison, Rome      Holy Thursday        John 13: 1-15

Pope Francis  Washing the feet of Prisoners  02.04.2015

On this Thursday, Jesus was at table with the disciples, celebrating the feast of Passover. And the passage of the Gospel which we heard contains a phrase that is the very core of what Jesus did for us: “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (Jn 13:1). Jesus loved us. Jesus loves us. Without limit, always, to the end”. Jesus’ love for us knows no limits: always more and more. He never tires of loving anyone. He loves us all, to the point of giving his life for us. Yes, giving his life for us; yes, giving his life for all of us, giving his life for each one of us. And every one of us can say: “He gave his life for me”. Everyone: He gave His life for you, for you, for you, for you, for me, for him... [pointing to the inmates] for each person, by first and last name. His love is like that: personal. Jesus’ love never disappoints, because He never tires of loving, just as He never tires of forgiving, never tires of embracing us. This is the first thing that I wanted to say to you: Jesus loved us, every one of us, to the end.

And then, He does something that the disciples don’t understand: washing the feet. In that time, this was usual, it was customary, because when the people arrived in a home, their feet were dirty with the dust of the road; there were no cobblestones at that time.... There were dusty roads. And at the entrance to the house, they washed their feet. It was not done by the master of the house but by the slaves. That was the task of a slave. And like a slave, Jesus washes our feet, the feet of his disciples, and that is why He says: “What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand” (Jn 13:7). Jesus’ love is so great that He became a slave to serve us, to heal us, to cleanse us.

Today, in this Mass, the Church would like the priest to wash the feet of 12 people, in memory of the 12 Apostles. But in our hearts we must be certain, we must be sure that, when the Lord washes our feet, He washes us entirely, He purifies us, He lets us feel his love yet again. There is a very beautiful phrase in the Bible, the prophet Isaiah says: “Can a mother forget her child? But even if a mother could forget her child, I will never forget you” (cf. 49:15). God’s love for us is like this.

And today I will wash the feet of 12 of you, but all of you are in these brothers and sisters, all of you, everyone. Everyone who lives here. You represent them. But I too need to be washed by the Lord, and for this you pray during the Mass, that the Lord also wash away my impurities, that I might become a better servant to you, a better slave at the service of the people, as Jesus was. Now let us begin this part of the celebration.






Pope Francis  13.04.17 Paliano House of Detention (Frosinone)    Mass of the Lord's Supper    Holy Thursday    John 13: 1-15

 
Pope Francis the Last Supper 13.04.17
Jesus was having supper with them, the Last Supper, and as the Gospel says, he “knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father” (Jn 13:1). He knew he had been betrayed and that he would be handed over by Judas that very night. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (ibid.). This is how God loves: to the end. He gives His life up for each one of us, and he is proud of this and wants to do this because He has love”; “to love to the end”. It is not easy because we are all sinners. We all have shortcomings, defects, many things. We all know how to love but we are not like God who loves without thinking of the consequences; to the end. And he gives an example. To show this, He who was the “boss”, who was God, washed his disciples’ feet. It was a custom of that time to wash feet before lunch and supper because there was no asphalt and people walked about in the dust. Therefore, one of the gestures to receive someone at home, also for a meal, was to wash their feet. This was done by slaves, those who were enslaved. But Jesus overturns this and does this Himself. Simon did not want him to do it, but Jesus explained that it was so, that he had come into the world to serve, to serve us, to make himself a slave for us, to give his life for us, to love until the end.

Today, as I was arriving, there were many people on the street who were hailing [my arrival]; “the Pope is coming, the boss. The head of the Church...”. The head of the Church is Jesus, no joking around! The Pope represents Jesus and I would like to do the same as He did. In this ceremony, the parish priest washes the feet of the faithful. There is a reversal of roles. The one who appears to be the greatest must do the work of the slave in order to sow love; to sow love among us. I do not say to you today to go and wash each other’s feet. That would be a joke. But the symbol, the example yes: I would say that if you can offer some help, provide a service here in prison to your companion, do so.

Because this is love. This is the way to wash feet; it is being at the service of others. Once, the disciples were arguing amongst themselves as to who was the greatest, the most important one. And Jesus said: “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves”. And this is what He did. This is what God does with us. He serves us. He is the servant. All of us who are “poor things“. Everyone! But he is great. He is good. And he loves us as we are. For this reason, let us think about God, about Jesus, during the ceremony. It is not a ceremony of folklore. It is a gesture to remember what Jesus gave. Following this, he took bread and he gave us His body. He took wine and he gave us His blood. This is how God’s love is. Today, let us only think of God’s love.





Pope Francis       29.03.18  Mass of the Lord's Supper, “Regina Coeli” Prison in Rome          Holy Thursday          John 13: 1-15

Pope Francis  - Mass of the Lord's Supper  29.03.2018

Jesus concludes his discourse by saying: “I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (Jn 13:15). Washing the feet. At that time, feet were washed by slaves: it was a slave’s task. People travelled by road. There was no asphalt. There were no cobblestones. At that time the roads were dusty and people’s feet got dirty. So at the entrance to the house there were slaves who washed one’s feet. It was slaves’ work. But it was a service: a service carried out by slaves. And Jesus wanted to offer this service, to set us an example of how we should serve one another.

Once, as they were walking along, two of the disciples who were opportunists asked Jesus if they could take up important positions, one on his right and the other on his left (cf. Mk 10:35-45). And Jesus looked at them with love — Jesus always looked with love — and said: “You do not know what you are asking” (v. 38). The leaders of the nations — Jesus says — command; they are served, and they are fine (cf. v. 42). Let us think of that era of kings, of such cruel emperors, who made the slaves serve them.... But among you — Jesus says — this must not be so; rulers must be servants. Your leader must be your servant (cf. v. 43).

Jesus overturns the historical and cultural customs of that epoch, and those of today too: in order to be a good leader, one who leads, wherever he may be, must serve. I often think — not of these times, because everyone is still alive and has the opportunity to change their way of life and we cannot judge, but let us think of history — if many kings, emperors, heads of state had understood this teaching of Jesus and if, instead of commanding, of being cruel, of killing people, they had done this, how many wars would not have been waged!

Service: there really are people who do not accept this attitude, arrogant people, odious people, people who perhaps do not wish us well; but we are called to serve them all the more. And there are also people who suffer, who are discarded by society, at least for a period, and Jesus goes there to tell them: ‘You are important to me’. Jesus comes to serve us, and the sign that Jesus serves us here today, in the ‘Regina Coeli’ prison, is that he wanted to choose 12 of you, like the 12 Apostles, to wash your feet. Jesus takes a chance with each of us. Understand this: Jesus is called Jesus; he is not called Pontius Pilate. Jesus does not know how to wash his hands of people: he only knows how to take a risk! Look at this beautiful image: Jesus bent down among the thorns, risking to hurt himself by picking up the lost sheep.

Today I, who am a sinner like you, but represent Jesus, am Jesus’ ambassador. Today, when I bend down before each of you, may you think: “Jesus took a risk with this man, a sinner, to come to me and tell me that he loves me”. This is service; this is Jesus: he never abandons us; never tires of forgiving us. He loves us so much. See how Jesus takes risks!

And thus, with these feelings, we continue this ceremony that is symbolic. Before giving us his Body and Blood, Jesus takes risks for each one of us, and takes risks in serving us because he loves us so much.



Pope Francis   18.04.19   Holy Thursday    Mass of The Lord's Supper   Velletri Prison, Coena Domini, Rome       John 13: 1-15




Jesus carries out an act of service, which was usually done by slaves. He, the Lord who contained in himself all power, carries out the gesture of a slave.

Jesus, then told his disciples to do the same for each other in service.

Be brothers in service: not in ambition but in service.

Each of us needs to be at the service of our neighbour.










Pope Francis Mass of the Lord's Supper 09.04.20

Eucharist, Service, Anointing

This is what we experience in today’s celebration: the Lord who wants to remain with us in the Eucharist. And we become the Lord’s tabernacles, carrying the Lord with us; to the point that he himself tells us: if we do not eat his body and drink his blood, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. This is a mystery, bread and wine, the Lord with us, within us, inside us.

Service. This gesture is the condition to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, to serve... everyone. But the Lord, in the words he exchanged with Peter (cf. Jn 13:6-9), makes him realize that to enter the kingdom of heaven we must let the Lord serve us, that the servant of God be our servant. And this is hard to understand. If I do not let the Lord be my servant, do not let allow the Lord wash me, help me grow, forgive me, then I will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

And the priesthood too. Today I would like to be close to priests, to all priests, from the most recently ordained right up to the Pope. We are all priests. The bishops too, all of us... we are anointed, anointed by the Lord; anointed to confect the Eucharist, anointed to serve. 

There is no Chrism Mass today – I hope we can have it before Pentecost, otherwise it will have to be postponed to next year – but I cannot let tonight’s Mass pass by without remembering priests. Priests who offer their lives for the Lord, priests who are servants. In these days many of them have died, more than sixty here in Italy, while tending to the sick in hospital, together with doctors and nurses... They are “saints next door”, priests who have given their lives in serving.

I think too of those who are far away. Today I received a letter from a priest, a chaplain in a prison far away, who told me how he was spending this Holy Week with the prisoners. A Franciscan priest. Priests who travel far to bring the Gospel and who die far away. A bishop told me once that the first thing he did on arriving in these mission posts was to go to the cemetery, to the graves of priests who gave their lives there, young priests who died from local diseases because they were not prepared, they didn’t have the antibodies; and no one knew their names: anonymous priests. Then there are the parish priests in the countryside, pastors of four, five, seven little villages in the mountains, who go from one to the other, who know the people. One of them once told me that he knew the name of every person in his villages. I asked him, “Really?” And he told me “I even know the dogs’ names!”. They know everyone. Priestly closeness. Good, good priests.

Today I carry you in my heart and I carry you to the altar. Also priests who are slandered. This happens often today; they cannot walk about freely because people say bad things about them, referring to the scandal from discovering priests who have done bad things. Some of them have told me that they cannot go out wearing clerics because people insult them. Yet they carry on. Priests who are sinners, together with bishops and the Pope who is also a sinner, must not forget to ask forgiveness and learn how to forgive because they know that they need to ask forgiveness and to forgive. We are all sinners. Priests who suffer from crises, who do not know what to do, who live in darkness... 

Today you are all with me, brother priests, at the altar, you who are consecrated. I say to you just one thing: do not be stubborn like Peter. Let your feet be washed, the Lord is your servant, he is close to you, and he gives you strength to wash the feet of others.
 
In this way, conscious of the need to be washed clean, you will be great dispensers of forgiveness. Forgive! Have a big heart that is generous in forgiving. This is the measure by which we will be judged. As you have forgiven, so you will be forgiven, in the same measure. Do not be afraid to forgive. Sometimes we have doubts; look to Christ [he looks to the Crucifix]. There, there is forgiveness for all. Be courageous, also in taking risks, in forgiving, in order to bring consolation. And if you cannot give sacramental pardon at this moment, then at least give the consolation of a brother to those you accompany, leaving the door open for people to return. 

I thank God for the grace of the priesthood, we all give thanks. I thank God for you, priests. Jesus loves you! He asks only that you let him wash your feet.