Today’s Gospel: John 13:1-15
Confession: I am too embarrassed to volunteer to get my feet washed at Holy Thursday Mass. My husband has participated in the washing of the feet twice and both times he experienced a “tingling sensation” in his foot that to this day, he has trouble explaining. And it is not that I have weird feet, or unusual toes or anything. There is just something about sitting in front of the parish, with my sock off, and the Priest kneeling down to wash my bare foot, that leaves me feeling terribly uncomfortable, vulnerable, and unworthy.
And I wonder if this is how the disciples felt when Jesus dresses down as a slave, becomes little before them, takes their filth into his mighty hands, and washes them clean. For me, this is truly a scene of ultimate humility and self giving, so much so, that it moves me to tears. And perhaps my embarrassment of having my foot washed publicly has nothing to do with baring my naked foot, but everything to do with bearing my prideful soul. Maybe having my own parish priest perform such an act of servanthood slaps me in the face of my own fear to get out and humbly serve others; my hesitation to enter into real intimacy with those I consider myself to be above.
And isn’t this what it is all about? I don’t think that Jesus is telling us that we need to literally wash each other’s feet. Putting his garments back on, he reminds us, “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” Did you hear that? It is that “as I have done” that gets me. It is that “you should also do” that wakes me up to my own foolish pride. If Jesus, the Son of God, is willing to be our servant, than are we not simply called to read and reflect on this Gospel, but to go out and live it? For it is in the washing of each other’s feet that we are united to each other, united to Christ, where we truly become his hands and feet.
Have I washed the feet of another? Have I done for others what Jesus has done for me?
Jesus, my teacher, thank you for knowing me so well, and giving me a model to follow. Without your example, I would be lost. Help me to be a servant, to never be so full of pride that I am unable to make myself small, get down on the dirt, and cleanse the feet of those around me. Make me humble like you. I love you. Amen.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.