There are few things in life I love as much as getting a good pedicure. The hot bubble bath for my toes delights me. And that foot massage with lotion? It is like a birthday party for my feet! While I love someone giving me a pedicure, I do not like other people’s feet. Let’s just say I could never ever be a podiatrist. I always chuckle thinking about this whenever I hear this Gospel passage for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
Saint Peter was so stubborn in refusing Jesus’ action of love because he knew this was the job of a servant. Only a servant washes the grime and grossness off feet tromping in sandals all day long. Certainly not the Messiah. Wrong again, Peter.
Jesus knows the disciples will only come to understand His actions later on as time passes. One of His final teachings to His closest friends was this: If you want to be great in the Kingdom, you need to be willing to serve. You need to be willing to get messy. You need to be willing to genuinely love and care for people you do not like or who don’t agree with you.
You may not literally wash someone’s feet (thank goodness!) but who is that person — at school, work, your parish, your family — where you need to serve them with the exact love with which Jesus washed His disciples’ feet? Who is that person you struggle with most? That’s the person you need to serve in love. When Jesus gives us this as a model to follow, we cannot slide out of it.
The day before our God pours out His life for us, He shows us how to serve each other in love, with the depth of His love for us.
If you are able to visit the Altar of Repose tonight, spend some time with Jesus asking this question and waiting on His response: Who are the people most unlike me that I need to go wash their feet? Then be willing to get messy and go do it.
Patty Breen is a runner, youth minister ordinaire, and thinks old movies are the greatest thing since sliced bread. When not fundraising for World Youth Day, she is learning to find grace in all things. You can find out more about her here.