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The word disgusting is certainly not positive. Its synonyms include repulsive, filthy, sickening, sordid, nauseating, horrible. That’s the irony, but love can make us do those things considered sickening and nauseating. Wait a minute!


Does Christ really wash his disciples’ feet in the gospel? Isn’t that disgusting? To wash the feet of an adult. Your mom could only wash your feet until at a certain age after which she’s done. But Jesus washes the feet of twelve adult men with no blood relationship at all. Again, why do priests wash people’s real feet at mass? Isn’t that disgusting? The answer is simple, fulfilling the words of Christ, "Do this in remembrance of me."


I think about those who have done disgusting things for love -Maximillian Kolbe who sacrificed his life for another man in Auschwitz. -Mother Teresa of Calcutta picking up abandoned and rejected persons on the streets. -Pope Saint John Paul 11 going into lepers’ settlement and embracing them. I am sure there’s more. These respond to Jesus’ invitation, "I have given you a model to follow" (Jn.13:15). The gospel narrates, "Jesus loved his own in the world and loved them to the end."


At the Last Supper, Christ institutes the Blessed Eucharist:

  • To perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages.

  • To entrust to his spouse, the Church, a memorial of his passion, death and resurrection.

  • To institute a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet (CCC 1322-1323). 

Jesus offers bread and wine and says, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me" (1Cor.11:24-26). In the eyes of the Jews, that is also disgusting. They remark, on hearing him at the synagogue in Capernaum, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” Many walk away because they feel he is doing a disgusting thing. Giving his body and blood to be sacrificed is seen by his followers as disgusting.


Again, to the Sacred Priesthood! At the Last Supper, Jesus institutes the holy priesthood with the words, "Do this in remembrance of me." This reveals the intricate bond between the Blessed Eucharist, the "source and summit of all the sacraments" and the holy priesthood. In that command, the priest is mandated to do exactly what Jesus has done. When Jesus says, "Take this and eat," "Take this and drink," he asks priests and beleivers in the Eucharist to do those “disgusting” things he did for the sake of love. It does not matter how we are perceived. In Jesus' time, “The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”


As we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus demonstrates God’s love in washing the feet of his disciples. His question is, "Do you realize what I have done for you?" (Jn.13:12) Do we realize what Jesus has done for us -giving us the sacred priesthood and the Blessed Eucharist? Here’s the truth, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” Faith in action! Again, that sounds disgusting. Yet, that’s the mystery of our salvation, that Jesus loves his very own to the end. Can we love as Jesus or give like Jesus?


Jesus invites us into God’s love, the bond of his Father united by the Holy Spirit. He invites us into his Church. Think about God’s “Matching gift” in this sense. When Jesus says, wash another’s feet, what is he asking of us? That your life symbolize the priesthood that others experience, giving, loving, and serving till the end? God multiplies every act of love you perform. That’s why he says, “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.” God matches every foot you wash in numerous ways, so keep on washing.


What we celebrate today is huge -the gifts of love, priesthood, and the eucharist. In the church we encounter Christ. In the priesthood we experience Christ. In the Eucharist we embrace Christ. But in each other, we live Christ. Love therefore fulfills the mandate, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Yes, as it appears, love’s mystery is that it seems disgusting. In my mind, love is the Christian’s elevator, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself” (Jn. 12:32).


 Readings; 1st-Ex. 12:1-8, 11-14; 2nd- 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Gospel- 13:1-15

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