Tenderness will Lead us On

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Maundy Thursday, based on John 13:1–15

  Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

  After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.


Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Timothy Radcliffe, O.P.

About Timothy Radcliffe, O.P.

Timothy Radcliffe OP was born in London in 1945, the fourth of six children. He was educated by the Benedictines at Worth and Downside schools. He joined the English Province of the Dominican Order in 1965, and was ordained a priest in 1971. He studied at Blackfriars and at St John’s College in Oxford, and in Paris. He was a chaplain to the University of London in 1974 – 76, before returning to Oxford, where he taught scripture and doctrine for twelve years. Besides teaching and preaching, he was involved in the Peace movement and in ministry to people with AIDS. He was Prior of Oxford from 1982 – 88, when he was elected Provincial of the English Province. He was President of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors. In 1992 he was elected Master of the Order, finishing his term in 2001. He was Chancellor of the Angelicum University in Rome, S.Tomas in Manila, the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem and the Theology Faculty in Fribourg. He is now an itinerant preacher and lecturer, based at Blackfriars, Oxford, spending half of the year traveling, and on the board of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development. He is an Honorary Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford, and Doctor of Divinity hon. causa of Oxford University and the Pontifical University of St Thomas (Angelicum), and has honorary doctorates from various other universities. He is the author of ‘Sing a New Song’, ‘I Call You Friends’, ‘Seven Last Words’, and ‘What is the point of being a Christian?’

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