These are the feet of a person in poverty. Someone who lives and works in the dirt and dust. The person is unknown. Perhaps they are taking a moment’s rest before resuming a gruelling job taking tourists or locals around various destinations in a rickshaw, or are perhaps transporting food to and from marketplaces.
They are the feet of someone who many of us may avoid because they are not pretty or signify the health and good fortune of a well-to-do person. We may feel repulsed by such feet, or do not want to click on this post to see the picture of such a person because it is not attractive or inviting us to find out more about them and their life.
As a baby, these feet were once tiny and soft. Perhaps they were tickled, kissed and washed by a loving mother and father. Now as an adult, they not covered in jewels, grand designs, or a fancy leather casing.
But these are the feet of a human being and someone who Jesus loves very much. To Him, these are the most beautiful feet in the world because they are His creation. This child of God is someone who serves others and struggles to get by in life.
Jesus loves the feet of all of His children, but especially of those who are humble and poor. Today, on Holy Thursday, He washed feet which very possibly resembled ones like these – the feet of men who were prepared to follow Him everywhere, even in the dirtiest and dustiest places, because they loved Him so much. Jesus became a servant by stooping down and washing the feet of His disciples even though He was the Master, Teacher, and King of kings. He wants us to do the same for our brothers and sisters. He does not want us to pursue riches, worship those who have money, or to be lazy by not bending low to help those who are considered to be in the dirt of our society.
The feet of those who followed Jesus then, and now, are the loveliest and most beautiful feet because they go about doing His will, preaching the Good News about the kingdom of heaven, and serving others. We don’t need to adorn our feet to spread the love of Christ in the world. We just need to ask ourselves how we can take action to spread the Word of God by our lives. Are our feet taking us to someone who is lonely and needs a visitor? Are our feet taking us to a workplace where we can feel free and happy to serve others? Are our feet walking to someone to say ‘I’m here, how can I help you?’ or ‘I’m sorry’? Are our feet taking us to Mass every Sunday (or daily Mass, if we can) to receive the Eucharist?
Holy Thursday is not just about the washing of the feet and following Christ’s example by showing charity and love to one another as servants. It also commemorates significant events in our Church and our lives as Catholics:
- The Last Supper of the Lord when the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist was established;
- The institution of the holy priesthood (and the washing of the feet of the disciples who would become the first priests);
- The end of Lent and the beginning of the Triduum;
- Many other important points which you can read about in this article: 10 things you need to know about Holy Thursday
These are central to our faith. This is also why we sing the ‘Gloria’ or ‘Glory to God’ at Mass on Holy Thursday. There is much to celebrate and be thankful for in our holy Catholic Church, while also being conscious of Christ’s impending suffering and death.
It is also important to note that Holy Thursday is called Maundy Thursday because it is the day when Christ gave the greatest commandment of all to His disciples and therefore to us – to love one another (John 13:34-35). I don’t think it was an accident that the importance of service, being a servant to others, and loving one another is introduced to us simultaneously on the one night. The love and charity which Christ asks of us gives everything, even when it hurts. Truly, this Holy Thursday is the most amazing and beautiful of days.