Pope Francis celebrated the Missa in coena Domini – the Mass of the Lord’s Supper – on Thursday, leading the Church of Rome into the sacred Paschal Triduum that culminates in the great Easter Vigil in the night between Holy Saturday and Resurrection Sunday. This year, the Holy Father celebrated the Lord’s Supper at a temporary welcome and living facility for refugees and asylum-seekers located on the outskirts of Rome.
English language working translation by Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB
The gestures speak louder than pictures and words. The gestures… There are, in the Word of God that we read, two gestures: Jesus serving, washing the feet… He, who was the “head”, washing the feet of others, they were his own, even the smallest of them all. A gesture. The second gesture: Judas who goes with the enemies of Jesus, to those who do not want peace with Jesus, to take the money with which they betrayed him, the 30 pieces of silver. Two gestures. Even today, here, there are two gestures: the first – all of us together: Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, Copts, Evangelicals but all brothers and children of the same God: we want to live together in peace. One gesture. Three days ago, an act of war, of destruction in a European city, by people who do not want to live in peace. But behind that gesture, just as behind Judas, there were others. Behind Judas there were those who gave the money so that Jesus would be handed over. Behind “that” gesture, there are manufacturers, arms dealers who want blood, not peace; they want war, not brotherhood. Two gestures, the same: Jesus washes the feet; Judas sold Jesus for money. You, we, all together, different religions, different cultures, but children of the same Father, brothers. And there, those poor people who buy weapons to destroy brotherhood. Today, at this moment when I will perform the same action of Jesus washing the feet of twelve of you, all of us are performing a gesture of brotherhood, and we all say: “We are different, we are different, we have different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and we want to live in peace”. And this is the gesture that I perform with you. Each of us has a story within us. So many crosses, so many sorrows, but we also have a heart open to brotherhood. May each one of us in our own religious language, beg the Lord that this brotherhood be contagious in the world, so that there are not 30 coins to kill our brother, so that there will always be brotherhood and goodness. So be it.