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Holy Week reflection: Love one another as he has loved us

Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin with his mother Catherine. Picture by Cliff Donaldson
Archbishop Eamon Martin

I remember the way my mother used to vigorously wash my hair - "scrubbing away the badness" over the sink in the kitchen until I squirmed.

But for all the discomfort of it, I think of it now, just a week after her death, cherishing that moment of intimacy.

Seamus Heaney similarly savoured the memory of peeling spuds with his mother, her head bent towards his, their breaths mingling, "never closer the whole rest of our lives".

John's Gospel tells of how, just days before His burial, Mary of Bethany tenderly anointed the feet of Jesus with costly ointment, wiping them with her hair until the house was filled with its sweet perfume.

At the Last Supper Jesus, in his turn, girded himself with a towel, poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet - a special moment of mercy, intimacy and humble service.

Centuries later we still remember every Holy Thursday, his words on that occasion: "I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you - this is what will mark you out as my disciples."

Archbishop Eamon Martin

Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland

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