Feet. Underappreciated, overlooked. What grounds us, literally,
to this earth. (Yes, I know gravity is the force that actually does
this, but I can’t see gravity. I can feel my feet grounded
to the earth.) In a time when travel was almost exclusively by foot,
a sign of respect and reverence, and of hospitality, was to wash
the feet of visitors. Even today, washing feet or rubbing them with
lotion is a sign of care and concern. I remember the look of pleasure
and gratitude on my Dad’s face when someone would rub his
feet with lotion to keep them soft (so they would be less likely
to develop sores, a constant threat for people with diabetes).
Jesus by His act of washing the calloused, dirty, tough soles
of the disciples’ feet clearly sends the message that, as
He reminds them and us, no master is greater than the disciple.
I think there are other possible messages here though. Jesus chose
to humble Himself by washing feet, the means by which people move
in a willed direction. And so we can ask ourselves in what direction
are we moving, and is it the direction we feel called by God to
follow? Is Jesus reminding us to ask if our feet are moving us closer
to God? And what of our feet themselves? Are they innocent like
the infant’s or calloused and world-weary like the aged man?
Doesn’t Jesus rejuvenate our feet, and our spirits, by His
washing and refreshing, His message of hope and salvation? And can
we accept His washing, as did the apostles, by surrendering to the
act of charity that He provides with a grateful heart? When we are
aware of Jesus washing our feet, do our eyes shine with the gratitude
of an old man whose feet are caressed and rubbed with lotion?
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