Footwashing

My favorite part of the Holy Thursday mass is the Gloria – bells and all. Last night, I was explaining what we would be using before mass last night, and when I made mention of the Gloria, someone (a young couple) questioned the fact that we would be singing a Gloria. Whoa! One the good side, somebody was paying attention to the liturgy.  But, I had to bite my tongue not to be snippy when I responded that “Yes – we sing the Gloria tonight.” (Bells and all).

I always listen to the Holy Thursday gospel and ponder it. I wonder about the cultural setting — in this scene Jesus when Jesus wants to wash Peter’s feet, Peter says “Never!” and Jesus tells him – “But I have to.” and Peter says “well, then, not just my feet, but all of me.” Jesus tells him – “You have bathed. Only your feet need washing.”

Only your feet. You are clean already. Feet – the walking around part of you. I had a couple of images cross before my eyes:

Scene One: I am clean. Once in my life I bathed – I was baptized. But, day to day walking around gets my feet dusty… dirty, tired. Jesus tells me that He must wash my feet. He has to clean off the traveling dirt. I have to allow Him to be that close to me so that he can do that. Jesus tells Peter either I do this for you, or you can’t really be a part of this whole deal. Give up your pride.

Scene Two: Now that Jesus has washed my feet, I must in turn wash others’ feet. I must be Christ to others. I must serve them – clean up the traveling dirt. Interesting — it’s like God took care of the bathing, I do the footwashing – or the pedicure.

Scene Three: I love getting a pedicure. To have my feet cleaned, massaged, cared for, makes my whole body feel better. I think of my friend Judith who would give foot massages to folks who were working as Team for a Cursillo weekend – they were on their feet for extended periods of time and their feet hurt. Judith was there officially as a music minister… but her call to servanthood led her to take care of other folks feet. She even brought nail polish so we could paint up our toes for the Closing at the retreat. At home, she took care of her Mother’s feet. What an imitation of Christ.

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