Friday, March 29, 2013
Holy week is always a tremendous time spiritually for me. When we as Catholics go through our ceremonies of reading the gospel together, actively participating in carrying the cross, or even watching as some of our members get their feet washed by our priest; all tend to move me to really think about the Passion of our Lord and Savior. This year has been especially moving, I think because last year was so vibrant and moving that I missed parts of it (being the year I came into the church.)
What struck me as particularly moving, was a moment I haven't spent much time thinking about. As Father Don was preparing to wash the feet of these wonderful people in front of me, he took off his covering (outer robe.) and stood before us in just a stark white linen garment. It dawned one me that I didn't really think about the fact that Father Tim had done the same thing last year. Here they stood before me, just as Jesus was before his Apostles. Jesus had taken his robe off and was wearing a towel around his waist.
My mind began to wonder in awe... What must it have been like, to know that the Son of God was kneeling before you.. stripped of his outer garments? Like a servant. Bowing to wash the dirt and grime of this world, of soil that was foreign to them, soil that many still thought made them unclean. Here was the King of Glory, washing their feet. A menial task. Something meant for the servant, or for the help.
Do we realize the amount of humility it must have taken? For someone fully human, to bow themselves, knowing they had all the glory of Heaven.. but emptying themselves of it to wash a foot? Then we see our priests, even our pope, kneeling and washing feet, and some of them kissing them in humility, every Easter. How often we criticize them for the smallest of faults! That one is angry! That one is lazy! That one, well he's just waiting for retirement.... But today.. regardless of faults.. they knelt and washed feet.
Have you allowed Jesus to wash your feet? Think about what that means. As he told Saint Peter, "If I do not wash you, you have no part of me." Think long and hard on this next passage, it's powerful to think of during this time of reflection as we approach Easter Sunday.
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. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
As the service finished and Father Don walked to the front and began to put his robes back on I thought, someone should help him.. he has done so much for us today, kneeling through his pain, walking with visible pain up the steps to get to his robe.. Do we realize what he has done for us? He has reminded us of Christ... how much more powerful a gift can he give?