St. John begins his account of the Last Supper by saying of Jesus, “He loved his own in the world, and he loved them to the end.”
We might take that as an invitation to reciprocate. We, who are his own in the world, should love him as completely as we are able.
Luke let us into the depth of Our Lord’s emotions by quoting Jesus using a strong Aramaic expression. Luke quotes Jesus saying, “With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”
Although Rabbis in training were required to perform every kind of service for their masters, they were not required to tend to the master’s feet. That being so, John the Baptist was being most self-abasing by saying he wasn’t worthy to tie Our Lord’s sandal strap.
In picturing the Last Supper in our imaginations we should see the disciples looking to one another, asking who messed up on in not hiring someone to wash their feet. In our imagination we should play out the scene, watching Jesus knotting the towel around himself, pouring the water into the basin. Was he experiencing a deep personal love for each disciple he came to with his basin?
Jesus said, “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” He was not telling us to take him as a model in feet washing. As people aspiring to be Christians we must take him as our model in all things.
I haven’t seen this fully explained anywhere, but I believe Jesus could not have given us Holy Communion, and then gone on living, as he did after he fed the five thousand. My understanding of his saying, “This is my body which is given for you” is that he was giving us his own dear life as well.