Such a powerful image: Jesus, as servant to his disciples, washes their feet. Jesus demonstrates so clearly that I am to serve others, not necessarily by washing their feet—though there are plenty of opportunities for practical care—but by listening well and responding openly to others. May I see in my “washing another’s feet” the dignity of the person I face and also the tender reality of my own humbled dignity as servant.  “As I have done for you, you should do also.”

This “Last Supper”  was not an unplanned event. Jesus made choices about how this would proceed, from the selection of the venue, to having his closest disciples gathered with him, to the statement of washing their feet. In this setting, with closest disciples, just before his arrest, he transformed the ritual supper into a new participation in redemption. Now we are drawn together as disciples of Jesus the Christ. Here he presents to us his body and blood, uniting us as his body and directing us outwards, remembering who he is and what he has done for us.

—Fr. Jim Stoeger, S.J., a noted Jesuit educator, now serves as Vocation Director for the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Jesuit provinces.