Jesus poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around Him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
Peter said to Him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”
– John 13:5-9
In this scene Christ teaches us through specific example, and urges us to serve one another in all humility and simplicity. Jesus’ whole life was an example of service towards mankind, fulfilling His Father’s will to the point of dying on the Cross. If we imitate the Lord, our Teacher, in disinterested service (which always implies sacrifice), we will find true happiness which no one can force away from us.
Our Lord’s gesture had a deeper significance than St. Peter was able to grasp at this point. He would later understand, as we do now, that by washing his feet, Jesus was stating in a simple and symbolic way that He had not come to be served but to serve.
St. Peter never suspected that God had planned to save mankind through the sacrificing of His Son. Christ served – to the extent of giving His life as a ransom for us. Thank You, Jesus!
“Let us reject from our hearts any pride, any ambition, any desire to dominate; and peace and joy will reign around us and within us, as a consequence of our personal sacrifice” – St. Josemaria Escriva
Lord Jesus, I want to be more like You.
Make my heart clean and humble.
Wash me clean – completely –
and like Saint Peter, I too pray,
“Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”