Have you ever helped in washing a newborn baby? They cannot wash themselves, for they are too young and could harm themselves being in the water alone. The child needs to be clean to keep healthy. As the child grows up, they learn to wash themselves in the same practice, and then one day, help their own children in the same ritual. On Holy Thursday, there is a practice of washing of the feet. This practice is much like the daily ritual of bathing, in that we each need to help others be washed of their regrets, their sins, to help them find freedom and forgiveness.
Today's Gospel states:'Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded. He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand." Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part in me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not every one of you." For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "You are not all clean." When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you' (John 13:1-15).
Jesus tells his disciples that this practice is to be continued on after him, that we should wash one another's feet. This helps us step out of ourselves and help our neighbour. Jesus says that by being washed, we become one in Jesus, not only showing significance in baptism, but also in use of holy water and even daily cleansing. Since we each know how good it feels to be physically clean, by taking the extra step and washing another's feet, we aid them in becoming not only physically clean, but spiritually from sin. Jesus teaches us that we need to step out of ourselves and help others to become clean and faithful through our actions, with something as simple as washing of feet. Take action today.
Today's prayer comes online called a servant's prayer:
Give me a servant’s heart, O Lord;
A soul that longs for you,
A spirit that daily seeks your will,
And strength to follow through.
Give me ears to listen
To the cries that go unheard,
A mouth that speaks in kindness
And proclaims your perfect word.
Give me eyes to see the things
That grieve your only Son
And hands that reach out for the lost
Until your work is done.
Give me legs that carry me
Swiftly through the race,
And when I’m finished let me leave
Footprints marked with grace. Amen.