In stooping to serve his disciples Jesus knew he would be betrayed by one of them and that the rest would abandon him through disloyalty.
Such knowledge could have easily led to bitterness or hatred. Jesus met the injury of betrayal and disloyalty with the greatest humility and supreme love.
Jesus loved his disciples to the very end, even when they failed him and forsook him. The Lord loves each of us unconditionally. His love has power to set us free to serve others with Christ-like compassion and humility.
Does the love of Christ rule in your heart, thoughts, intentions and actions? Saint Augustine in his sermon for this day, wrote: “He had the power of laying down his life; we by contrast cannot choose the length of our lives, and we die even if it is against our will.
He, by dying, destroyed death in himself; we are freed from death only in his death. His body did not see corruption; our body will see corruption and only then be clothed through him in incorruption at the end of the world. He needed no help from us in saving us; without him we can do nothing.
He gave himself to us as the vine to the branches; apart from him we cannot have life.
Finally, even if brothers die for brothers, yet no martyr by shedding his blood brings forgiveness for the sins of his brothers, as Christ brought forgiveness to us.
In this he gave us, not an example to imitate but a reason for rejoicing.
Inasmuch, then, as they shed their blood for their brothers, the martyrs provided “the same kind of meal” as they had received at the Lord’s table.
Let us then love one another as Christ also loved us and gave himself up for us.”