“If I therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (John 13:14-15)
At first, she refused to believe the doctor’s diagnosis. She resolved to carry on as if nothing was wrong, but she soon conceded that the cancer was destroying her strength and energy. She cried for days and closed herself off from others. She was angry at God, the doctors, everyone. She eventually found the courage to accept what was happening and the faith to place her life in God’s hands.
That’s when the transformation took place — she who could do so little for herself physically became the caregiver of others. Those who cared for her were buoyed by her faith and her sense of peace. They felt a new pride and sense of purpose in their work because of her support. Those who came to cheer her up found themselves lifted up by her serenity and optimism. She became a wellspring of love and peace for her family and friends. Although there were difficult days, her generosity of spirit transformed her illness into an occasion of grace. She became a foot washer in the spirit of Jesus.
Jesus calls all of us who would be His disciples to put aside our cloaks of pride, of fear, of self and take up the towel and basin of the foot washer. When we put aside our own needs and hurts and make the needs and hurts of others our own, we see our lives in the light of Jesus’ selfless compassion. To wash the feet of another person requires Christ’s spirit of humility and generosity, requires respect and love for the other person. To allow another to wash our feet requires us to trust, to let go of our compulsion to be in control and acknowledge our need to be healed and forgiven.
It is only when we become authentic foot washers that we will become the church of the Eucharist and witnesses to the resurrection whom Jesus calls us to become tonight on this Holy Thursday. In what ways can you wash the feet of another in the spirit of Jesus’ humility and compassion?
EXODUS 12:1-8, 11-14 ● PSALM 116:12-13, 15-16BC, 17-18
● 1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-26 ● JOHN 13:1-15