'The Master of the House Washed My Feet!' Holy Thursday.

Jesus washes the feet of the Apostles
Church of St Aignan, Chartres, France [Wikipedia]

Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Note: The page above has the readings for the Chrism Mass and, below them, those for the Mass of the Lord's Supper. 

Gospel John 13:1-15 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition, Canada)  

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’ Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ Jesus said to him, ‘One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.’ For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.

Directed by Philip Saville

'The Master of the House Washed My Feet'
By Fr Gary Walker

In March 2008 I posted this story from The Far East, the magazine of the Columbans in the Region of Australia and New Zealand (now, with Fiji, the Region of Oceania) about a Hindu, Nomo, who proclaimed the gospel after a Holy Thursday experience. What struck me is its similarity to the story of the Samaritan woman at the well, who also became a missionary by telling the people in her town that she had discovered the Messiah. Fr Walker the author, was then editor of The Far East. He is from Brisbane, Australia.

Pray for the soul of Nomo.

An Easter Triduum story comes from Sindh province in Pakistan where the Columbans work. The extraordinary experience of a Hindu man who was caught up in the Holy Thursday liturgy and had his feet washed by the parish priest, Irish Columban Fr Tomás King.

Matli is a town in Sindh where the Columbans have worked for over 30 years. At Easter Catholics come to town from many areas to celebrate the Easter Triduum; they stay in the Catholic compound while they are in the town. At the same time a Hindu man by the name of Nomo came to Matli to visit his relatives from Nagar Parkar, a town right on the eastern extreme of Pakistan near its border with India. These are tribal people, Parkar Kholi people, who are Hindu and Christian as well as Muslim.

Nomo was several hundred kilometres from home and invited to the Holy Thursday night liturgy by a Catholic friend. Fr Tomás King, the resident priest at that time, randomly arranged for some men to have their feet washed at the altar. It just happened that Nomo was chosen and totally unaware of what was going to take place sat up in front of the altar with the other men. But when he saw that Father Tomás was washing their feet, the poor fellow tried to run away - but they managed to persuade him to stay and Father Tomás washed his feet.

This ritual washing had an extraordinary effect on him and he told others after Mass, Now I have seen a true religion - I came into this house, a total stranger and the master of the house washed my feet! Imagine the master of the house washing a stranger's feet.

He returned to Nagar Parkar and related this story, not only to his family but also his neighbours and friends. Nomo was a well-known figure and a prominent person in the Hindu community in Nagar Parkar. Even though he was not baptized he proclaimed this message of love and service as he experienced it at the hands of a Catholic priest.

Sadly he died in questionable circumstances. Some Catholics in the area believe that he was poisoned while trying to bring peace and reconciliation between two parties that were at odds with one another. He had accepted the gospel as his way of life.

Fr Tomás King

One of the antiphons that may be  sung duriing the Washing of the Feet, a ceremony that will not take place this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic

Antiphon John 13:4, 5, 15

Postquam surrexit Dominus a cena, misit aquam in pelvim,
After the Lord had risen from supper, he poured water into a basin
et coepit lavare pedes disciplulorum:
and began to wash the feet of his disciples:
hoc exemplum reliquit eis.
he left them this example.

Ps 47 [48]:2. Magnus Dominus, et laudabilis nimis; in civitate Dei nostri, in monte sancto eius.
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain.

Postquam surrexit Dominus a cena, misit aquam in pelvim,
After the Lord had risen from supper, he poured water into a basin
et coepit lavare pedes disciplulorum:
and began to wash the feet of his disciples:
hoc exemplum reliquit eis.
he left them this example.


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