Thursday, April 17, 2014

“The more humble and obedient to God a man is, the more wise and at peace he will be in all that he does.”

Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance. - Saint Augustine

Gospel Text: (JN 13:1-15)
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

Science has shown that if you walk barefoot in public places, you risk picking up all sorts of nasty microorganisms: E. coli, tetanus, and many different types of fungi. These germs seem to consider the human foot a very welcoming environment, and they turn our feet into petri dishes!

Can you imagine how dirty people’s feet were during the time of Jesus? The apostles’ feet were probably tougher, more calloused, and just plain uglier than anything most of us have seen. No wonder it was the role of a slave to wash the feet of the wealthy—no one else would want to!

The significance of this act of humility seen today at Mass and in Holy Scripture is so profound that some have called it the gospel in miniature. Others have likened it to the Eucharist. God so loved the world that he sent his only Son to save us. And he still loves us so much that he bends down at every Mass to teach us, feed us, and refresh us. Both in the Incarnation and at Mass, he sends his only Son as a humble servant—all so that we can be filled with his life and transformed into his image!

Foot washing is a symbolic action. It expresses what living a Eucharistic Life, a life of self emptying love in imitation of the Lord who emptied Himself for us, really looks like.

It is referred to as the Mandatum, the Command, for good reason. A Christian who lives the love of Charity (Caritas), the Love of Jesus Christ, is to make Jesus Christ real in a real world. In so doing, the Incarnation continues.

To bear the name Christian is to walk in this kind of love in the midst of a broken and wounded world. This command now passes to each one of us.

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