This week we are watching Jesus fulfill his Father’s loving plan for him and ourselves. We are invited to listen in to an intimate discussion as he leaves the Last Supper he has with his close friends. In Luke 22:24, a slight argument arises about which of them will be the greatest. So human of them — and his response spins them around and ourselves as well.
The greatest ones usually sit at table and the lesser serve, “But I am among you as One Who serves.” He has said it; said that which he had lived all their days together.
We then turn to the thirteenth chapter of John’s Gospel and we see the Servant of God and humankind with a towel wrapped around him and kneeling before these friends, washing their feet. We pause with Jesus at the feet of Peter, who resists this humiliation. We watch the eyes of Jesus looking at his dear friend. Peter has followed Jesus from the humbling experiencing of Jesus telling him where and how to catch fish and has been confounded many times since. This might be too much though. Jesus invites him again to keep coming after him. “Let me wash your feet.”
The Servant is beginning his finest revelation in these final scenes of the great play of salvation. He has given them a simple way to remember him and his undying love in sharing with them the Bread of Life. He has also given them a way to live that remembrance by inviting them to wash one another’s feet in whatever manner that may be and to “do this in memory of me.” The Servant is asking all his friends to follow him these days as he completes his ministry of loving all of humankind.
For us, these days are for very serious watching and listening. Ignatius invites us to come close and let our imaginations bring us prayerfully into Jesus’ presence. We can be on our knees next to Peter or sitting at table breaking bread and remembering the great deeds of the Passover. We let him wash our feet, or maybe we, too, resist that gentle gesture of tenderness. Perhaps we join in the discussion about our own desires for greatness and not for being a servant at the table of his sisters and brothers.