Washing Feet

John 13:1-5

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
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.”

Today’s Gospel is a powerful one. It strikes a cord for me in a very big way. How wonderful is it that my savior also turned himself into a servant? He was teaching, even knowing that he was about to enter willingly into his Crucifixion. He was showing us that we are to be servants to one another, even the ones we know are living with sin. That is just the first part for me.

I have had the privilege of partaking in a Mass that included this very thing. On a weekend retreat, with a group of men, the very person who was my RCIA director got down on his knees and washed my feet. This is a moment that I will remember forever. How special it was that the person that helped me through my conversion process, taught me some very deep meanings in our Mass and about the Church as a whole, was now washing my feet as a gesture. The very same gesture that Jesus made to the twelve on the night that he instituted the Eucharist. I can only hope to return that favor for someone one day. Such a simple, yet powerful gesture.

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