Body and Blood of Christ

The Washing of the Feet

 

A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it  over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must  become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one  who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among  you as one who serves.   "You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on  me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom,  and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of  Israel.  
                                                                                   Luke 22: 24-30


                                                                                   

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The Washing of the Feet.  

Luke 22:24, 27, 28, 29, 30a.  John 13: 1-20.

 

It is a funny old world.  What we imagine we want gets in the way of what we really want. The most enjoyable thing to do is really care for another, look after and serve. It is a privilege to bring a bit of happiness into a person’s life. It is so easily done, - a word of appreciation and thanks, a word of encouragement and support. It could be a sentence or action that makes them feel worthwhile. In a life of loneliness the telephone call or the knock on the door can mean so much.


His friends were jockeying for power, influence and prestige, Lk.22.24. To go down that path is to invite disappointment, hurt and upset. Common sense sends a clear message. Yet we blunder into the mines that ambition seeds in our paths. 
Jesus had a searing insight into the reality of things. There is a better way which is to forget oneself and just serve. This is more effective and brings deeper happiness.


While among us Jesus gathered together a community that would continue his work. This would have to be organized. There would be leaders and people who would take responsibility. Jesus knew this but made no effort to set up structures of management with defined duties, controls on authority and obligations of respect and obedience. 

 
Quite deliberately, Jesus did none of this. He trusted his followers to do the right thing when he was gone. What he did do was establish in stark clarity the spirit in which leadership was to be exercised. The greatest of you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. Lk.22:26.


In any context, above all in the world of the lst.century, the washing of the feet was a dramatic sign of self-gift. The event illuminates its Eucharistic context. There is less emphasis on sacrifice or Godwards movement in John’s perception of the Passion. In the Fourth Gospel’s understanding, the significance of the Cross is found in God’s movement towards us in love. The Eucharist is the sign, the symbol, the sacrament of this self-gift.



                                                                                 Benedict Hegarty

 

 

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Jesus

This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists

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Unfolding the Story of jesus

Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries

Unfolding the story of jesus