Friday, April 6, 2007

Will you let me wash your feet?

"Jesus answered him, 'Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.'"
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There are so many powerful images throughout the Sacred Triduum, but I think that this image of Jesus humbly approaching the disciples to wash their feet is one of the ones that speaks most loudly.
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Enter into the reality of that - here is Jesus, who is God Himself - telling us, His disciples that even He, who is God, comes to serve one another and that as He does, we too should do. How often do we approach this great event as historic or quaint or something for Jesus, but not for me? Perhaps too often.
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Jesus asks us as He asks Peter and the disciples, "Will you let me wash your feet?" It is a powerful question coming from our Lord. Perhaps we are often more comfortable being in the role of service, and that is a worthy thing. Yes, we are called to do as Jesus does, to go out and reach out to those who are most in need in our midst; to approach everyone not as a master, but truly as one who serves. But, on this day, it is our Lord who says to us, "Will you let me wash your feet?"
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If we let Jesus wash our feet, He will renew us; He will cleanse us; He will deal with us so very tenderly. He will lift any burdens off of us and gently, so gently, touch our feet and wash them. It is a renewing experience and the only way to be truly strengthened and re-energized for the mission He calls us to.
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But, we can be like Peter too. You know, there are really two Peters in this passage. The first one is a Peter who refuses to allow his Master to serve him. "Lord, you will NEVER wash my feet." Jesus makes it plain for him, "If you do not let me wash your feet, you can have no share in my inheritance." This brings out the second Peter - "Then Lord, not just my feet, but my hands and head as well."
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And, our Lord says to each of us, "Will you let me wash your feet?" What will we say? Will we react as Peter first reacts - in a way that ultimately keeps us separated from all that our Lord promises us? Or will we react with the enthusiasm he comes to and invite, beg, encourage the Lord to refresh and renew us in this washing?
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"Will you let me wash your feet?" Yes, Lord, humbly, I will let you wash me.

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