I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be the one who had their feet washed. My mind can easily wrap around how humbling and moving it could be the be the one doing the washing. To emulate our Lord in each movement, doing exactly what he commanded us to do. I never really thought about the person sitting there having their feet washed by someone who loves them, someone who cared enough to do something so menial, so base, to serve our very needs.
Last night as Father Tim moved from person to person, my mind was transported through time. As he bent over before each candidate, sponsor, and young child… my heart and soul began to cry out with Peter, Lord what are are you doing? Why are you washing my feet? Is it not I who should be serving you? I am not worthy of this. No Lord, you shall never wash my feet! I never really understood those lines from John 13 until last night as I was put in that very place. Like Peter, I realized that the man washing my feet was a much better man than myself.
As Father Tim gently pulled my foot over the polished basin to wash it, I was reminded of Jesus other words in that situation, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me.” Oh how my heart was rent, my soul cried out with Peter “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” I finally understood Peter, realizing he must submit to this action in order to follow the will of God! I too wanted to shout out with joy, with exultation! Then Father lifted his eyes to mine as he was drying my unworthy feet, the very feet that had carried me through this life, the feet that were soiled with the ‘dirt’ of this world, the very feet that had walked me into sin many times… and I saw in his eyes something that went straight to my core.
I know Jesus is alive in each of us. I know that he lives very specially in all of our hearts. But there in those eyes, last night, without a shadow of a doubt, I saw a man filled with the Holy Spirit. I was once again transported through time. As my priest sat in persona Christi, washing my feet.. I knew that Jesus had once again washed the feet of his disciples.. and was challenging me personally:
“Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”