14 April, Maundy Thursday: Those who lead must serve

Pope washes feet of 12 prisoners on Holy Thursday

We follow Pope Francis to prison on Maundy Thursday.

In 2018, during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Pope Francis washed the feet of twelve inmates in Regina Coeli prison. He told the prisoners that Jesus had washed his disciples’ feet to show that leadership is service: “Those who lead must serve. If so many kings, emperors, heads of state had understood this teaching of Jesus and done this instead of giving orders to be cruel, to kill people, how many wars would not have happened!”

Pope Francis urged the prisoners not to give up hope for there always is the possibility of forgiveness; and even though society discards them, Jesus says: “You are important to me.” And he “takes a risk on each of us.” 

Francis  got down on his knees to wash the prisoners’, among them two Muslims and a Buddhist. He has in the past washed the feet of non-Christians; and the feet of women. 

“I am a sinner but come as Christ’s ambassador,” the Pope told the prisoners. “When I wash your feet, remember that Jesus never abandons you and he never tires of forgiving you.”

At the sign of peace he urged those present to use it as a moment for reconciliation and to think of “those who do not love us” and the people “we would like to take revenge on”.

(CNS photo/Vatican Media) 

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Filed under Daily Reflections, Easter, Justice and Peace, Lent, Mission

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