Today’s stage again took the group through the stark landscape of the Monegros region. The route had few trees or shade and was close to the N-II highway. The terrain was mostly flat. Half-way along was the village of Peñalba. Our destination was Candasnos, another small village with a population of around 500 people. The Romanesque church of St. Mary of the Assumption dates back to the 12th century (you can still see the stonemasons’ individual marks on the cut stones, dating back to that time).
After the group arrived in Candasnos, they met by our Mongolian bus driver Acai and were transferred by coach to the Hotel Casanova Huesca in Fraga.
Today we are reflecting on the Last Supper. We are praying for the grace to feel sorrow with Christ in sorrow; to experience anguish with Christ’s own anguish, and even to experience tears and deep grief because of all the afflictions Christ endures for me.
In Jerusalem now, Jesus celebrates His last supper with His disciples. At one point in the meal Jesus performs a household servant’s task of the washing the dirty feet of the supper guests.
The pilgrims’ feet were hot and sweaty this afternoon after 6 hours of walking through the Monegros. At one point they had to walk through mud. Would we be willing to wash each other’s feet at the end of the day on the Camino? In Jesus’ time, the feet were regarded as a defiled part of the human body. It was thought that a person could catch leprosy just by walking the same ground as a leper. A person visiting the home of another would wash his own feet carefully before entering the house. However, for anyone other than a slave, offering to wash the feet of another was practically unheard of. Jesus’ example tells us several things. First, it shows Jesus taking the role of a servant and he invites us to do likewise. Also, by washing the feet of his friends, Jesus is saying: “I love you. I respect you. There is nothing about you I consider unworthy. I accept you as you are.” Can you imagine Jesus washing your feet after a six-hour walk? Are you drawn to serve others in a similar way?
During the meal, Jesus breaks bread and shares wine with his disciples, inviting them to “do this in memory of me.” Today is Sunday and in countless places around the world the Eucharist is being celebrated. The Eucharist also draws us into a living, intimate connection with Jesus: the bread and wine Jesus offers us is His own body and blood, generously given to each of us.
In the Spiritual Exercises Ignatius invites us to enter into the scene at the Last Supper. Ignatius speaks of Jesus who, “after eating the Paschal lamb and finishing the meal, washed their feet and gave his most holy Body and Precious Blood to his disciples.” Ignatius invites us to: “See the persons at the supper, and then, as I reflect on myself, draw profit from them. Listen to what they are saying… see what they are doing.”