Today’s Gospel: John 13:16-20
Today’s gospel passage from John provides another portion of the “to be continued” vignette the evangelist has been sharing with us as he invites us into that moment of the “Last Supper” when Jesus humbles himself before his disciples. Having just cleansed his followers’ feet (even amidst Peter’s initial protestations), the master becomes teacher, explaining why he has humbled himself to the point of becoming a servant. The ritual foot washing is not simply an act of welcome, but also an object lesson in what is to come for the disciples. They will be called into a future of extreme service to others.
Jesus’ humility must definitely have come to their minds in the following months and years when the Apostles became the “messengers”, sharing the Good News of Christ’s teachings. How tempted they might have been to fall into the trap of vanity or self-righteousness! I know that in my own way, I fall too often into the trap of judging, condemning or pitying others, finding myself in some way “superior” because of my religious background. How easy it is from the comfort and safety our pews on Sunday morning to cast aspersions on those around us without really having any sense of what’s really going on in their homes or their hearts.
By washing his disciples’ feet, by reminding them that they would be called to do the same–literally and figuratively for one another and for those members of the flock yet to come to know him through their words and deeds–Jesus reminds you and me that in our own way, we are called constantly into the service of those around us. Often, our service is humble, lowly and mundane. As we set out today to wipe the tears of our little ones, to wash the stains of our spouses’ clothing, to mop the muddy floors and to tackle the many other small moments of service that will come our way, let us remember Jesus’ words to those he loved:
“If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.”
Is there a task or service I must perform today that is causing me to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, or annoyed? How can I offer this as a sign of love for the one I am serving and an act of gratitude for the ONE who gave all to save me?
Jesus, my master and teacher, thank you for sending me to love those around me as you loved. Help me to serve humbly, lovingly and with faith today and always.
Copyright 2017 Lisa Hendey