As we journey through Holy Week, On the Road's post from 2010 on the Holy Thursday liturgy and the washing of the feet provides food for thought. Could we wash someone's feet? And are we called to literally or metaphorically to wash people's feet?
I was thinking this week – would I wash someone's feet? Talking with a friend about the gospel of John as we approach Holy Thursday, it started me pondering – how much do I love and serve other people? Whose feet is God asking me to wash?
It is so easy to live in my own little bubble. My mind is taken up by my own worries. I consistently seek out what is next for me. Working for Fridays – so I can enjoy my life. I spend my time consumed by my own life, sometimes I do not even notice people.
Then I take time to read John's gospel.
Jesus washed his disciples feet, as they probably sat there wondering who should be on his right and left hand in his kingdom. Washing someone's feet – one of the most demeaning things a person could do for another. It was work fit for a servant, not the master. Afterwards, he could have said, I wash your feet so you may wash mine. That would have been somewhat expected. Yet, he said that they are to go and wash each other's feet. Out of love and humility, we are to serve others, carry their burdens, love them, be Christ to them.
There are some incredible examples of this love. One of my favorites is Dick Hoyt, the father of a disabled son who runs triathlons and marathons with him. That is true love.
But, it does not have to be grand gestures. It could be dedicating 110% to your work, the smile to the annoying acquaintance, being cheerful when you are feeling down, staying up late to drive someone home. As Jesus said, what we do to the least of these, we do to Him…
A brief meditation on this from St. Josemaria Escriva:
It is Peter who speaks: Lord, do You wash my feet? Jesus answers: You do not understand what I am doing now; you will understand it later. Peter insists: You will never wash my feet. And Jesus explains: If I do not wash your feet, you will have no part with me. Simon Peter surrenders: Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. Faced by the call to total self-giving, complete and without any hesitation, we often oppose it with false modesty like Peter's … May we also be men with a heart like the Apostle's! Peter allows no one to love Jesus more than he does. That love leads us to reply thus: Here I am! Wash me, head, hands and feet! Purify me completely, for I want to give myself to You without holding anything back.