As we once again commemorate the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, we are reminded of Jesus' mandate that we are to care for one another. A unique part of the Holy Thursday Liturgy is the foot washing. In this action, which first took place at the Last Supper, Jesus made perfectly clear that He is both a Servant and Leader, and that no one is above serving their neighbor.
In Apostolic times, foot washing was a sign of hospitality performed by a servant. Palestinian streets were dirty, dusty, and often doubled as sewers. If Jesus "washed feet", then so should we serve our neighbors, even if the work is dirty or hard, or we think it is beneath us. In other words, we must serve, even if we would rather not.
During COVID, literal hand washing was a very necessary practice. It was inspiring to see so many people engaged in acts of love and service: sharing messages of hope, assisting with shopping, providing nourishing meals and other forms of outreach. But the work of foot washing will not end as COVID subsides. Globally and locally, our service is still needed. Will we be attentive?
Wash your hands, yes, if you must, but also wash the feet of your neighbor!
Blessings during the Triduum!
Sr. Marcella Louise Wallowicz, CSFN