(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis preached an extemporaneous homily during the celebration
of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which was held at S. Maria della Provvidenza, a
rehabilitation and long-term care facility in the suburbs of Rome. The following is
an English translation of Pope Francis’ reflections on the Lord’s loving act of service,
an act which the Pope himself imitated later in the Mass, kneeling down to wash the
feet of twelve patients of the centre.
We have heard what
Jesus did at the Last Supper: It is a gesture of farewell. He is God and He makes
Himself a servant, our servant. It is like an inheritance. You also must be servants
of one another. He crossed this path by love. Also you must love each other and be
servants in Love. This is the inheritance that Jesus leaves us. And He makes this
gesture of washing feet, which is a symbolic act. The slaves performed this, the
servants at the meals for the people who came to dine because at that time the streets
were made of dirt, and when they entered in a house it was necessary to wash one’s
feet. And Jesus made performed this action, a work, a service of a slave, of a servant.
And this He leaves like an inheritance amongst us. We must be servants of each other.
And for this reason, the Church, today, commemorates the Last Supper when
Jesus instituted the Eucharist, also—in the ceremony—performs the action of the washing
of the feet, which reminds us that we must be servants of one another. Now I will
perform this act, but all of us, in our hearts, let us think of others and think in
the love that Jesus tells us that we have to have for the others and let us consider
also how we can serve better, other people. Because Jesus wanted it this way amongst