Sermon for Maundy Thursday

April 1, 2021 (Liturgical Year B)

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Like each of us every day, Jesus had choices to make. The evening we remember in today’s Gospel is no different.

Jesus could have chosen to be any number of places, to be doing any number of things. As a man of growing influence who was a threat to the powerful establishments (both religious and secular), Jerusalem was perhaps the most dangerous place he could choose to be. As a respected teacher, wearing the garb of a servant, kneeling before his disciples to wash their feet was perhaps the least likely thing he could choose to do.

And yet…there he was. He knew where he came from, who He was and what He was about. Verse three clearly reminds us that Jesus knew “he had come from God and was going to God.” He knew what His call was, and He would remain faithful to that call until the (apparently bitter) end.

Pope Francis washes the feet of Muslim, Christian and Hindu Refugees on Maundy Thursday of 2016.

Source: America Magazine

He could have chosen to model how to create a philosophically and theologically foolproof teaching. He could have chosen to model how to accumulate the largest quantity of followers. He could have chosen to model how to accumulate more wealth and more power. But he wasn’t interested in any of these “worldly goods.” Instead, he chose service. “I have set you an example,” He tells them, “that you also should do as I have done to you.”

Though Jesus’ transformation into the role of servant appeared temporary, He called on His disciples to make it a permanent one for themselves. He called them — and calls us — to a new ethic of servant leadership.

I wonder how our world….our families…and our lives would be different if we took this call to servant leadership to heart.

May we ever love one another as He loves us.