Two Gestures: Pope Francis on Holy Thursday

Pope Francis - Holy Thursday

Pope Francis - Holy Thursday


Pope Francis celebrated the Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper at a hospitality center for refugees on the outskirts of Rome in Castelnuovo di Porto. During his homily, the Pope reflected on the contrast of “two gestures,” Judas’s betrayal of Jesus and Jesus’s washing of his disciples feet. He offered an invitation of “brotherhood” and “peace” to people of all faiths saying, “we are brothers [and sisters] and we want to live in peace.” Citing the terrorist attack in Brussels earlier this week, he called out weapons manufacturers and arms dealers, saying they “want blood, not peace; they want the war, not fraternity.”

According to Vatican Radio the CARA Welcome and Hospitality Centre, operated by a non-profit organization provides temporary lodging and services to nearly 900 asylum seekers from 25 different countries. The mass was celebrated outside and included the traditional washing of the feet, an act carried out by Pope Francis for twelve individuals — 4 women and 8 men. The women included an Italian who works at the center and three Eritrean Coptic Christian migrants; and the men included four Catholics from Nigeria, three Muslims from Mali, Syria and Pakistan, and a Hindu from India [AlJazeera].

The text of Pope Francis’s full homily can be found below.

Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper: Pope Francis’s Homily

Gestures speak louder than pictures and words. There are, in the Word of God we read, two gestures: Jesus serving, washing the feet … He, who was the “head man”, washing the feet of others, of His own, even of the least; one gesture. The second gesture: Judas who goes to the enemies of Jesus, those who do not want peace with Jesus, to take the money that bought His betrayal; the 30 pieces of silver.

Two gestures.

Even today, here, there are two gestures: this, of all of us together, Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, Copts, Evangelical [Protestants] brothers and sisters – children of the same God – we want to live in peace, integrated. 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. Though behind that gesture, as there were behind that of Judas, there were others. Behind Judas there were those who offered money, that Jesus be delivered up to them. Behind that [other] gesture [on Tuesday in Belgium], there are manufacturers, arms dealers who want blood, not peace; they want the war, not fraternity.

Two gestures, just the same: Jesus washes feet, Judas sold Jesus for money. You, we, all of us together, of different religions, different cultures, but children of the same Father, brothers – and there, those poor people, who buy weapons to wreck fraternity. Today, at this time, when I do the same act of Jesus washing the feet of twelve of you, let us all make an gesture of brotherhood, and let us 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.”

This, then, is the gesture that I make with you. Each of us has a story, each of you has a story you carry with you. Many crosses, many sorrows: but also an open heart that wants brotherhood. Let each, in his religious language, pray the Lord that this brotherhood be contagious in the world, that there be no 30 pieces of silver to purchase a brother’s murder, that there be always brotherhood and goodness. So be it.


1 reply
  1. Joseph Meyer
    Joseph Meyer says:

    The bombs used in the Brussels attacks were built by the terrorists themselves. The attacks were caused, not by arms dealers and weapons manufacturers manipulating otherwise peace-loving Muslims, but by the same supremacist Muslim ideology that has killed over a billion people since Muhammad’s first battle, and 29,000 SINCE 9/11.


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