Towels, Feet, and New Life

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"Towels, feet, and new life" by Deanna Bartalini (CatholicMom.com)

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Today we mark the beginning of the Triduum; the 3 days of watching and waiting. We celebrate the Last Supper, Jesus’ final Passover meal with his disciples. It is here that he gives us the Eucharist. However, the Gospel reading today is not about that as we read John’s Gospel and see Jesus wash His disciples’ feet.

I’ve heard the washing of the feet called the revolution of the towel. I’m not sure a towel can cause a revolution. I think it was Jesus. Jesus came and turned everything upside down. Think about it – turn the other cheek; the first shall be last; become like a child; don’t judge; love your neighbor; everyone is your neighbor; die to self; pick up your cross – all of these thoughts and many, many more Jesus gave to His disciples and to us. And yet, on the last night he is with His friends, He is still teaching them. And they are still confused and Peter, well, Peter wants to tell Jesus what to do. Sometimes I’ve read Scripture and thought, in a slightly judgmental way, “Why don’t they got it? Why are they questioning? Don’t they remember what happened last time?”

I forget two things when I do that. 1 – they didn’t know how the story would unfold. They believed, they loved, they trusted, they had faith – but they may have also been scared and unsure. Exactly how would dying be helpful? And 2 – I doubt all the time. And I know how the story unfolds. Jesus rises from the dead; He has the victory over sin and death. He gives us life in abundance. Even when life is hard, there are blessings. But there is doubt. We doubt ourselves, “Am I doing the right thing?” We doubt God, “Is he listening? Does he care?”

When Jesus washes the feet of His disciples, He reminds us that we are important to Him. In big ways and small ways, He cares for us. It is also our reminder that Jesus did not consider Himself above washing feet. The foot washing is our call. For Jesus continued on and made the ultimate sacrifice, His life. His life for ours. And while we talk about dying to self, few of us will die to save another’s life.

I think we die to ourselves by washing feet. And that dying will bring new life, one that lives in the joy, hope and love of the Resurrection.


Copyright 2019 Deanna Bartalini

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About Author

Deanna G. Bartalini, is a Catholic writer, speaker, and educator. She and her husband Deacon John have two married children and a grandson. Deanna loves teaching about Catholicism and how it fits into our daily lives. She writes at DeannaBartalini.com, serves as the editor of the NewEvangelizers.com blog, and is a contributor there as well as at AmazingCatechists.com. Deanna contributed to A Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion published by Ave Maris Press. She has written “Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life: Growing in Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control” one book in the series of the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women published by Our Sunday Visitor. Deanna is available to lead retreats and speak at catechist and ministry events.

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