The Good News for the day, March 29, 2018
Holy Thursday (259)
It was before the feast of Passover when Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own people in the world—loving them to the end. The Challenger Satan had already induced Judas, Simon the Iscariot’s son, to hand him over. So it was that 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—Jesus got up from the supper table and took off his shirt. He took a towel which he tied around his waist. and poured some water into a basin. He got down to wash the feet of his followers, and to dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said, “Sir, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing—you don’t understand right now—you will get it later.” Peter said to him, “You’re never going to wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I do wash you, you will not share the world to come with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Sir, so then—not just my feet, but my hands and head, too! Jesus said, “Anybody who has taken a bath does not need any more—except for a foot-washing. That person has no need except to have feet washed; that person is clean all over—you are clean, but not all.” (For he knew who was going to betray him; that’s the reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”) Finally, when he had washed their feet, put his shirt back on and gone back to his place at the table, he asked them, “Do you grasp what I have just done for you? You call me a ‘teacher’ and a ‘master,’—rightly so—it is what I am. If I really am a master and a teacher though, and I have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you a pattern to follow, so that what I have done for you, you should do., too” (John 13)
“Feet-washing” has become a fundamental part of the Holy Thursday liturgy. Pope Francis has broken with precedent by washing the feet of prisoners and of women—Muslim women in jail—but it is all part of a ritual repetition of the act.!
This model—this memorialized ritual—offers a danger of becoming “externalists”—something priests do, while we watch and maybe feel inspired. But the model runs deeper—a more fundamental route, or map, to the following of Jesus—the call that leads to the Way of the Cross and the Resurrection. Let us serve one another by forgiveness, compassion…All of us have “dirty feet”—and the model—is to take off “outer garments,” get down to the service of erasing daily dirt we notice in others, the messy business of forgiving the crud—and washing our world. You and I wash feet not by washing feet—but by doing kind, but uncomfortable service to each other.