Reading: When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. John 13:16.
Good morning, Happy Thursday, and many blessings my dear family.
Today’s Gospel (John 13:16-20) is a continuation of yesterday’s Gospel. Jesus realizes that his time on this earth is very limited. He needs to prepare the disciples for his departure. Jesus wants his disciples to continue his ministry. He desires that they serve one another, even if it means washing each other’s dirty, dusty feet. They are to do what Jesus has done. Jesus taught them, served them and loved them deeply! Now the disciples are to love, serve, teach and also wash one another’s feet! Their call is to continue to minister as Jesus ministered to the people.
Jesus emphasizes the importance of serving others. He tells them: “Whoever receives the one I send receives me and they also receive the One who sent me.” Jesus wants his disciples to love God and one another. However, they also are to love each person they meet, even if they do not particularly like that individual. They are to love and serve everyone, just as Jesus did. No one is to be excluded from their service and their love.
What a challenge this is for us! It can be very tempting to pick and choose the people we want to help or serve. We naturally feel more comfortable with our friends and the people we like. However, if we truly desire to follow Jesus, we also need to reach out to every individual who needs our care, attention, patience, and support. When we care for others, in a sense we are washing their feet. Jesus does not want us to exclude anyone from this gift, but what a challenge that can be!
We are all connected - no one is better than another, all have their own roles in life. God loves us but loves everyone else as well. God’s presence flows through the humanity of Jesus and to me, moving me to spread God's light into the world. I am invited to come to God and reflect on how I am living today. Are there any blocks which prevent me from living like Jesus? Remembering that I am chosen and trusted to spread the selfless love of God, I ask for a generous and open heart to spread his light.
Let’s keep in mind that this is not the only place in the Gospels where Jesus speaks of his union with us. He says elsewhere that whatever we do to the least and most marginalized of people, we do to him. I reflect honestly on my attitude to the poor and marginalized, to the man or woman I see sitting on the footpath overcome by drugs or alcohol or huddled in a sleeping bag in a doorway. Do I judge them? Do I resent them? Do I regard myself as better than they are? Do I realize that Jesus identifies himself with them, and does this change my attitude towards them? I pray for light.
Today, I invite you to reach out to someone with whom you normally do not interact. It may be stopping to have a brief conversation with this individual, or you might send someone a greeting card to let him or her know you are thinking of and praying for him or her. There is a multitude of ways to wash one another’s feet. How will we do this today?