A Mandate

5 Apr

“Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”  (Jn 13:12-15)

Definition of MANDATE

  1. an authoritative command; especially : a formal order from a superior court or official to an inferior one
  2. an authorization to act given to a representative (accepted the mandate of the people)
  3. an order or commission granted by the League of Nations to a member nation for the establishment of a responsible government over a former German colony or other conquered territory

In the Gospel for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we hear a clear mandate in the Lord’s instructions to His Apostles.

Mandate is a word that is often spoken, especially at election times.  We often hear someone voted into office, even by a slim majority, state that he or she has been given a “mandate” by the people.  They often use that phrase in an attempt to ram through their own agenda.

By and large, when we hear about a mandate, it is an order given.

An order given.

An order.

That is one of the huge differences between our conception of mandate and Jesus’ mandate to His Apostles.

His order was not merely words.

In order that His Apostles would understand what He meant, He did what He was going to mandate to them.

The teacher, the “guy in charge”, became a servant.  He performed a very menial task.  He washed the feet of the Apostles.

Some were not going to allow Him to do so.  But He insisted and, in the end, they relented.

And then, after He showed them, by example, what He expected, He issued His mandate: serve one another.

Jesus did so much for us.  In this evening’s Mass, we will celebrate the Institution of the Eucharist.  He gave us His very own Body and Blood as nourishment for the journey as we make our way back to the Father.

He also showed us an example of humble service.

May we have the grace — and humility — truly to serve one another.

FAITH ACTION:  At the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we commemorate the “mandatum”, the time when Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles and instructed them to do the same.  We “wash the feet” of others whenever we serve others’ needs.  Try to help someone in need this day.

Most churches are open very late on Holy Thursday night
in order for the faithful to adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
Try to visit the Lord at your local parish this evening.
Spend some quality time with the Lord.