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Liturgical day: Thursday 4th of Easter

1st Reading (Acts 13:13-25): From Paphos, Paul and his companions set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia. But John left them and returned to Jerusalem. They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia. On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats. After the reading of the law and the prophets, the synagogue officials sent word to them, «My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation for the people, please speak».

So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said: «Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen. The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt. With uplifted arm he led them out, and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert. When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance at the end of about four hundred and fifty years. After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king. God gave them Saul, son of Kish, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. Then he removed him and raised up David as their king; of him he testified, I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish. From this man's descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus. John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say, «What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet».
Responsorial Psalm: 88
R/. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The favors of the Lord I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness. For you have said, «My kindness is established forever»; in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.

«I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, that my hand may be always with him, and that my arm may make him strong».

«My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him, and through my name shall his horn be exalted. He shall say of me, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior’».
Verscicle before the Gospel (Rev 1:5): Alleluia. Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, you have loved us and freed us from our sins by your Blood. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Jn 13,16-20): After Jesus had washed the feet of the disciples He said «Truly, I say to you, the servant is not greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than he who sent him. Understand this, and blessed are you if you put it into practice. I am not speaking of you all, because I know the ones I have chosen and the Scripture has to be fulfilled that says, ‘The one who shared my table has risen against me’ I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may know that I am He. Truly, I say to you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the One who sent me».

«After Jesus had washed the feet of the disciples...»

Fr. David COMPTE i Verdaguer
(Manlleu, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, as with those movies that, at the beginning, take us back in time, our liturgy remembers a passage that belongs to the Holy Thursday: Jesus washes the feet of his disciples (cf. Jn 13:12). Thus, this gesture —read from the Easter perspective— recovers a perennial validity. Let us consider only three ideas.

In the first place, the centrality of the person. In our society it seems that to do is the thermometer to measure a person's worth. Within this dynamic it is easy for people to be considered as tools; we use each other extremely easy. Today, the Gospel urges us to transform this dynamic into service dynamics: the other party will never be just a tool. It would rather be a matter of living a spirituality of communion, where the other one —quoting John Paul II— becomes “someone that belongs to me” and a “gift to me”, whom we have “to give room” to. In our language we could translate it as “to care about other people's feelings”. Do we care about other people's feelings? Do we listen to them when they speak to us?

In our world of image and communications, this is not a message to transmit, but a job to be done, to live up to every day: «and blessed are you if you put it into practice!» (Jn 13:17). Maybe, this is why the Master does not limit himself to an explanation: He imprints into his disciples' memory his gesture of service, to pass it immediately on to the Church's memory; a memory that we demand to become a gesture, time and again: in the lives of so many families, of so many people.

Finally, a warning signal: «The one who shared my table has risen against me» (Jn 13:18). In the Eucharist, Jesus resurrected becomes our servant, He washes our feet. But the physical presence is not enough. We have to learn in the Eucharist and get the necessary strength from so that it may become a reality that «having received the gift of love, we die to sin and we live for God» (Saint Fulgence, Bishop of Ruspe).