Taking On the Unwanted Task
“You ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14
The Holy Thursday foot washing that occurs in our liturgy today is more symbolic than real because most feet washed have been carefully bathed beforehand. The re-enactment of the foot washing of the Last Supper signifies the humility of Jesus, as well as his great love for the disciples. Their sandaled feet were undoubtedly grimy from the road and quite smelly. The quiet work of many people today reflects this gesture of Jesus’ kindness. People’s “foot washing” involves humbling tasks like cleaning grime off family floors, cutting aged people’s fungus thick toenails, serving foot to strangers with dreadful body odor, wiping up student’s vomit, washing urine soaked bed linens. No one receives an award for this kind of foot washing. These tasks are hidden, ignored or taken for granted, whether someone does them out of duty or compassion. When done with compassion, they take on the quality of the foot washing Jesus did at the Last Supper.
Today, let us enter into this humbling story by performing our own unnoticed or unwanted tasks without complaint and with kindness.
Read: Exodus 12: 1-8, 11-14, Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-18, 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26, John 13: 1-15