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Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Reading Acts 13:13-25
Gospel John 13:16-20

“...whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

We might wonder why, throughout the Season of Easter, the Gospel passage at Holy Mass narrates events occurring before the Resurrection of Jesus? One reason is practical. Within the four Gospel accounts, the narratives taking place following the Resurrection are relatively few, and somewhat repetitive from one Gospel account to another.

There’s also a theological reason for the Church proclaiming “pre-Resurrection” narratives during the Season of Easter. This reason is illustrated in the narrative of the disciples on the way to Emmaus. On that way, Christ runs through all the Scriptures that refer to Him and His suffering, death and Resurrection. The meaning of the Old Testament, and of Jesus’ life before His Resurrection, are seen in a new light once Christ has risen from the dead.

So it is with today’s Gospel passage, which takes place before the Last Supper, immediately after Jesus’ washing of the apostles’ feet. In the light of Jesus’ crucifixion and death, this simple act of foot washing takes on greater meaning, as do Jesus’ words here: “no slave is greater than his master”. What do we learn about our own place as Jesus’ disciples—servants of His Father—if the Master took up for us, and died upon, the cross that we deserved?