The Last Supper – Jesus as Servant, Christ as Sacrifice: An Evening Meditation

At the Last Supper, on the night He was betrayed, our Savior entrusted to His Church the memorial of His death and resurrection.
This memorial came to us through the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, a memorial that He intended would be celebrated forever by His Church in the magnificent prayer that is known as the Holy Mass.
Let us adore Him, and say:
Jesus, sanctify Your people, redeemed by Your blood.
Lord, You humbled Yourself by being obedient to the Father’s will, even to accepting death, death on a cross.
Please give all who faithfully serve You the gifts of:
obedience to Your Holy Word found in Your Gospel,
service to our neighbor because they are reflections of You,
and patient endurance in all our troubles and tests.
Christ Washing Peter's Feet, Ford Madox Brown

Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet, (1852-56) by Ford Madox Brown (1821 – 1893), Tate Britain, London.

(Meditation based on the Intercessions, Evening Prayer for Holy Thursday, found in the Roman Breviary: The Divine Office, volume 2, page 465. Thanks to the Catholic Artists Society for the posting of Ford Madox Brown’s painting, please visit their site and consider becoming a member: ).

Copyright © 2011- 2013 Deacon Paul O. Iacono All Rights Reserved



3 thoughts on “The Last Supper – Jesus as Servant, Christ as Sacrifice: An Evening Meditation

  1. Hi Paul,

    Pat and I have been wondering about the ceremony of the washing of the feet at the Last Supper.

    My church has always had both men and women take part, and the newspaper said that is against

    church law. Is it?


    On Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 4:56 PM, Fra Angelico Institute for the Sacred Arts


    1. Yes, that action by Pope Francis has raised eyebrows in certain pews of the Church. Check out Father Z’s blog for his review of the Pope’s gesture of inclusivity and the reaction to it by a number of people in his comments section:

      There is a specific Canon Law response to this as it relates to pre Vatican 2 liturgy and post Vatican 2 reforms. I think what some people are responding to is that there needs to be catechesis, and the following of tradition that is encased in Canon Law, and that if a tradition is to be changed then it should at least be discussed beforehand rather than just being done as if nothing is standing in the way. But the question is: Is that method the model that Jesus left us in the Gospel? Jesus acted, and let others debate the issues. The bottom line is that Jesus specifically said at the end of the Gospel of Matthew to “Go, therefore, and baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” All nations, in my humble opinion, includes all genders – male and female – and that all genders are to love and serve the Lord and their neighbor. So the laity has a responsibility to participate in the evangelization effort. That being said, the liturgical tradition in early Church history is that the Pope would wash the feet of the 12 deacons of Rome. The Pope being the vicar of Christ washing the feet of His twelve ministers, the deacons, the Apostles. That is the tradition for the washing of the feet as I understand it. Twelve deacons, then as the clerical structure solidified and the priesthood became very prominent, 12 priests – twelve men. Outside of Rome – it would obviously just be 12 laymen; however, with Post Vatican 2 openness to the laity, men and women were included. I have no evidence that Pope Francis was signaling some other intention. I think he just wanted to include all in the spirit of Christ-like generosity and openness: Christian, male, female in the expression of Jesus’ behavior on Holy Thursday night.


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