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John 13:16-20

The Word of God

Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfil the scripture, “The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.” I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.’

John 13:16-20
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Even though we are well into the Easter season, this gospel reading takes back to that wonderful night when Jesus ate and drank with his friends, and prepared them for the new Passover. And yet there is no mention of the blessing of bread and wine. Instead, there is Jesus' astonishing behaviour of washing the feet of his disciples.
    • At his last meal, on the night before he died, Jesus gives a long discourse of teaching … but he begins with a powerful, wordless gesture. Once again, 'doing' the words of Jesus is crucial; here it is his own action and behaviour that we are called to imitate, as well as his teaching.
    • Jesus has no illusions about the group of inadequate, sinful men he is addressing. One will betray him, the other ones will scatter in the moment of testing. These men are also self-centred and ambitious, which is why Jesus has to demonstrate them the attitude of service. But Jesus does not despair over these men. They are the ones he has 'chosen'. Even at this late hour he is showing them the way to happiness.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This passage follows the washing of the feet of his disciples. It is notable that John substitutes the washing of the feet for the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Jesus wanted his followers to remember this lesson as a central part of his teaching and he places it at the Lord’s solemn farewell meal.
    • Followers of Jesus are called to serve. He is himself the model of service. Consider what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Do I sometimes take my relationship with him for granted?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Followers of Jesus are called to serve. He is himself the model of service. He chooses his followers, but some of those who have enjoyed intimacy with him proved capable of betrayal.
    • Saint Ignatius reminds us that love is shown more in deeds than in words. I ask God for the help that I need to allow the words in my mind and heart become evident in my feet and my hands, that I might recognise where God wants me to be and do what God wants me to do.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • If I were asked ‘Who are you, deep down?’ would I think to say that I am God’s servant, God’s messenger? I am someone sent on an errand by the Lord, and he accompanies me and identifies with me as I do it. Whatever small thing I can do to serve the growth of the kingdom of God, I do it in companionship with him.
    • Jesuits call themselves ‘companions of Jesus’ but anyone else can do so too, if they are trying to be available to God’s call.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus recognises that knowing and understanding are important but are only part of God's work in us. God blesses us, too, in what we do. My prayer helps me to be enlightened by God's light and moves me to do what I can to bring light to the world through how I live.
    • Saint Ignatius reminds us that love is shown more in deeds than in words. I ask God for the help that I need to allow the words in my mind and heart become evident in my feet and my hands, that I might recognise where God wants me to be and do what God wants me to do.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Followers of Jesus are called to serve. He is himself the model of service. He chooses his followers, but some of those who have enjoyed intimacy with him proved capable of betrayal. Do I take my relationship with him for granted?
    • Jesus is solicitous for his disciples. He wants them to understand in advance what will happen to him so that they may not fall prey to doubt. Having loved his own, he loved them to the end. This is the Lord I encounter in my prayer.
    • Jesus uses many images to speak of his relationship to the father and to me. Now, I consider what it means to be servant or messenger. I am known, chosen, trusted and sent.
    • Jesus allows that there is a difference between knowing and doing. I take this time to let my knowing deepen, to become part of me. I am like a courier with a message, like a servant with a task; I do not sit with an idea but am blessed as I express God’s love in my life.