Once-in-awhile, it’s good to just sit and be amazed at Jesus’ teachings in words and in actions. According to today’s norms, one of Jesus’ amazing times is just before the Last Supper.
Then Jesus poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” (John 13:5-9)
Putting oneself in the scene sometimes helps to experience the amazement.
Imagine being at the table with Jesus, your friend and leader, for this meal. It is apparent that we do not always understand what Jesus says or does. At times it seems he is counter-cultural past our grasp. His dealings with the Samaritan woman and the adulteress are just two examples of that. As followers of this teacher and healer, we also experienced mysterious and wonderful events. His feeding of five thousand with the loaves and fishes and his healing of the man who had been ill for 38 years are examples of the mystery and wonder. This Man is beyond our understanding, though we continue to try to understand. We love him, we respect him, we honor him.
We know we must be clean for the meal. We have walked barefoot or in sandals and our feet are dusty with the dirt of the streets. If the host of the meal is to be faithful to tradition, a person must be on-hand to wash our feet.
As we begin to be seated for the meal, it is Jesus who gets a towel and a wash basin. He kneels at Peter’s feet. Peter tries to put off Jesus from doing the work of a lower class person. But Jesus responds that Peter does not understand this action is necessary. Ultimately, Peter allows Jesus to wash his feet. Peter bends to the humility of obedience. We wonder how Peter does that, allowing Jesus to wash his feet. We wonder if we will be obedient when Jesus gets to us. Will our pride move us to challenge Jesus when he gets to us, or will we openly receive Jesus’ love as Jesus wants to love us?
Jesus enacts the humility of service to all. Even though he seems to know someone will betray him, he washes all the disciples’ feet. Even though he seems to know someone will deny him, he washes all the disciples’ feet. Even though he seems to know many will abandon him, He washes their feet. Living at the time of Jesus, we do not know all this and we still wonder at his actions.
To bring this amazement to the present, to imitate Peter in this event, would mean allowing Jesus to cleanse us. To bring this amazement to the present, to imitate Jesus in this event, would mean washing the feet of those who let us down, reject, or leave us. Are we free enough to accept and to give the unconditional love of God?
God loves us and call us first. God loves us without merit, as we are. If we are at least willing to be willing to accept the unconditional love of God and to give a taste of that love to others, we are free enough to encounter an exceptional Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Resurrection this year!
submitted by Jackie Krejcik