April 13, 2017
Sr Phyllis Jaszkowiak
A number of years ago during my annual retreat, we did an imaginary prayer. Prayer like this usually has the person conversing with Jesus in their imagination. As the prayer unfolded, Jesus came to the door of the house. I answered it and was so glad to see Jesus and invited him in. He said, “Can I bring in some of my friends?” I looked out beyond him and saw a multitude of people, some of whom I liked and some who I did not like, nor did I want to be around them, especially not in the same house. My heart sank, but what could I do but say but yes. If we want Jesus we have to take all his friends as well.
Jesus washes the feet of those present at the Last Supper. He washes Peter’s feet, who denies him. He washes Judas’ feet, who betrays him. He washes the beloved disciple’s feet’ who stands by him even at the cross. He washes Mary Magdalen’s feet, who is with him through suffering and death. He washes all the disciples’ feet, who run away when he is arrested. He washes the women’s feet who are present, probably including his mother, who can only stand by, helpless to stop the inevitable, as he is tried, crucified and dies.
Jesus washes them all. He does not exclude anyone, no matter if they stand by him, run away, deny him, or betray him. We are called to do the same. “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
Although, Jesus didn’t wash Pilate’s feet, he kept trying to bring him to see the ‘truth’, to convert him to the way of love. It didn’t work, but that is not the point. Jesus continues to spread love and inclusion to everyone, even those who call for his crucifixion.
We are all called to that conversion of heart, to that inclusive love. Kathy Hendricks, in one of her articles, puts it this way. “To love in the midst of challenges, doubts, and fear. To love no matter how we feel or think or believe or yearn. To love in spite of all that seems unlovable. In order to fulfill this commandment [of love], we need hope and faith.” (Kathy Hendricks) This hope and faith comes when we see others love when up against the worst of life.
We are filled with hope, faith and love when we see others who serve people, sometimes people whom I think don’t deserve such service. Jesus, however, reminds me, and all of us, that all people deserve our service. We, ourselves, also deserve service; we just need to be able to receive the service that is offered us, with grace and acceptance.
Jesus gives us an example that we are to follow, love everyone. Stand up for your own beliefs, but love everyone. “The truth in Jesus Christ sets our hearts free in ways that nothing else in this life can: a radical reorientation in love makes everything look different.” (Marie-Louise Ternier-Gommers)
Jesus washed the feet of everyone, and then gave himself totally to us in the Eucharist. Let us follow him by becoming that love in our world today. And as Pope Francis reminds us, “Come down from our lofty perches, serve and be served by the people, all the people, and begin to smell like the sheep, which is all of us.”
Let us let the love of Jesus transform us into people that love God, totally, completely, and into people who love each other, without exception.
Kathy Hendricks, ALL WE NEED IS LOVE, From This Day, March 24, 2017, Page 250.
Marie-Louise Ternier-Gommers, TRUTH IS NOT A HAMMER, From This Day, April 5, 2017, Page 66.