Today’s Gospel: John 13, 1-15
A number of years ago, I taught at a Catholic school where I also ran the student council. This school had a beautiful tradition for Holy Thursday. Every year, the student council members would “play the role” of the twelve disciples and have their feet washed. However, instead of the priest or deacon washing all twelve sets of feet, he would wash only the feet of the student council president. Then the president would turn and wash the feet of the vice-president, and so on down the line until each student council member had washed the feet of the next officer or homeroom representative.
Every year, I got the same reaction from the kids: “Huh? We have to do what? I don’t want anyone touching my feet!” I would smile at them and tell them they were doing this to show that they were not just student leaders, but actually student servants meant to be of service to their classmates. But the truth is, I’m not sure which freaked them out more: washing someone else’s feet or having someone else wash their feet.
Let’s be frank, it can be rather humbling to have someone touch your dirty, smelly, and/or funny-shaped feet. We’re an independent kind of society. If our feet need to be cleaned, we can do it ourselves, thank you very much. But that’s not what Jesus is calling us to do. He’s calling us to be humble servants and to let ourselves be washed clean by the good news He has to offer. We need him to wash our feet as much as the apostles did—and that takes some humility.
How can I use whatever leadership roles I embody in my family, school, church, or community to be of service to others today, and how can I humble myself to let someone else be of service to me?
Lord Jesus, You washed the feet of your disciples in order for them to have an inheritance in You. Help us to humble ourselves, not only in service to others, but to You, O Lord, so that we too may share in that same inheritance.
Copyright 2016 A.J. Cattapan
A.J. Cattapan is a teacher and author who writes Catholic fiction for teens and tweens. Her YA novel Angelhood was a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Award winner and an Amazon bestseller in the young adult-social issues category. Her middle grade mystery (featuring the Catholic churches of Chicago) is due out later this year.