Day 18: The Foot

Foot Washing

Fr. John is really trying to stretch my imagination with the topic of today, the foot.  The foot has to be the ugliest part of the human body, no wonder it is located where it is!

However, the Bible has much to say about feet, especially the washing of them.  One of my favorite passages is the passage where Jesus washes the feet of His Apostles.  Washing of the feet was always done by the lowest servant in the household so for Jesus to do this must have been very upsetting.  In fact Peter, in his usual I don’t quite get it yet way, refuses to have his feet washed by Jesus.  But Jesus reasons with him very gently and Peter eventually allows this, but, again in his go overboard fashion, now wants Jesus to wash all of him.  You gotta love Peter!

This past Holy Week, we restored the ancient custom washing feet.  The rubrics follow the Gospel story I just alluded to above.  The priest removes his vestments and ties a towel around his waist and proceeds to wash feet of those gathered.  In one of the most moving moments of the service, the priest will kiss the foot he just washed; again this is a sign of service and of humility.  This past year I chose the parish council, just as Jesus chose His Apostles, this shows that we never be to grand and we should strive to serve all.

Back when I was a monk in a Benedictine community, the abbot would wash the feet of the youngest in the community.  Not the youngest chronologically but the youngest in years of profession. One year this fell to me.  In the same fashion, the abbot would kneel before the monk and wash his feet.  The leader of the community washing the feet of the lowest.

We are called to imitate the life of Christ in our own lives and this is one way that we have to do that.  We must continually humble ourselves for our own spiritual well-being lest we get to haughty and then the evil one will take hold of us.  We cannot ever forget, no matter what position we ascend to, that we are still servants.


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