Pope Francis: The Last Supper teaches us three foundational truths

Pointing to Jesus’ words during the Last Supper, Pope Francis offered meditations on love, service and humility during his homily at daily Mass on Thursday.

The Pope reflected on the day’s Gospel, John 13, which recounts the moments of the Last Supper where Jesus instituted the Eucharist and washed the feet of his disciples. Christ’s actions in these moments, Pope Francis said, teach the Church three “foundational truths.”

The first lesson is the commandment of love, which is exemplified in the Eucharist, the pope said April 26.

“Love is without limits. Without it, the Church cannot move forward; the Church cannot breathe. Without love, she cannot grow, and is transformed into an empty institution, made up of appearances and actions without fecundity,” the Holy Father said.

“In his bodily actions, Jesus tells us how we should love, that is, until the end,” he continued, saying that just as Jesus gave himself “to eat and drink, he tells us to love one another in this way.”

The second gesture of washing His disciples’ feet points to another commandment: service.

“Washing the feet, he tells us to serve each other in like manner,” the pope reflected.

In this gesture of service, he noted, lies the third lesson of humility, because “no servant is greater than his master.”

“The awareness is that He is greater than all of us, and that we are servants who cannot go beyond Jesus,” Pope Francis said. “He is the Lord, not us. This is the Lord’s will.”

“But beware: no servant is greater than the one who sent him, the master. These blunt words and actions are the foundations of the Church. If we proceed in like fashion with these three points, we shall never fail.”

The pope additionally underscored the witnesses of the saints of the Church whose actions radiate what it means to truly serve and who lived “with the awareness of being servants.”

Pope Francis ended his homily inviting the faithful gathered to enter into silence, so as to welcome the gaze of the Lord.

“Let Jesus’ gaze enter into me. We will feel many things: love, maybe nothing… we might feel trapped there or feel shame,” he said. “But always let Jesus’ gaze in. It is the same gaze with which he looked at his disciples at supper.”

Image: Wikimedia Commons, “Christ Washing the Disciples’ Feet” by Jacopo Tintoretto, circa 1575