This episode places Jesus disciples at table before the feast of the Passover. Matthew, Mark & Luke record that Jesus is breaking the bread, John presents Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.
The Church celebrates this ancient tradition again, attested to by the Scriptures, that Jesus came to serve and not to be served. The priest who enacts this therefore, renews his priestly vows of serving the people of God, in his utmost capacity. It’s a demanding and humiliating responsibility indeed, but to follow Jesus is to commit ourselves to follow him, especially in serving his people.
Jesus said to Peter, “If I washed your feet, I who am ‘teacher’ and ‘Lord‘, then you must do the same.” There is however, another side of this story. If dropping on our knees and washing the other people’s feet calls for humility, it also calls for humility to have our feet washed by the person who is in a higher position than we are.
Offering our feet to be washed means that we are relying on other people, to help us, to assist us, to guide us, to carry us. But this is not always the case for us, since we, always tend to have control in every situation, that we all have the necessary means we need to survive. But, our experience also tells us that this is not always the case. There are just times in our lives when we couldn’t do anything, when we felt helpless, and dependent of another.
Then we project our attitude of being in control of ourselves, to our relationship with God, to the extent that we no longer allow God to be God in our lives. Experience tells us that there are times when we only call God, or go to God, when we really need something, and we want it done for us. It seems like God is an Automated Teller Machine, that when we need cash, we just enter our PIN and here we go.
The message that Jesus wants to impart on us today is to be humble enough, to let God be God, in our lives, and to acknowledge that we just couldn’t do much on our own without the generosity and love of God.