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  • Sarah Beth Dippel



Tonight we begin the Triduum, the three most important days in the liturgical year of our Church.

It is the Passover, the Last Supper, and Jesus has gathered with his disciples. In St. John's Gospel passage for the Mass of the Lord's Supper, Jesus washes the feet of the disciples. Why are we reading about Jesus washing feet?

It is essential to understand that the lowest slave would have the task of washing the disciples' feet before entering the host's home. So it is not surprising that Peter instantly protests, "You will never wash my feet." (Jn 13:8) But Jesus tells, Peter, if you do not let me wash your feet, you will never know who I am.

When Jesus kneels before the disciples, what does He see?

He sees their humanity, their flaws, their failures, their shame, but he also sees the presence of God. He knows that each of them has been formed out of the greatness of God, in His own image and likeness. Each one worthy of respect, not for who he is but who God created him to be.

Jesus is showing them the truth of who they are, children of God. You're not just ordinary people. When I look at you, I see who you truly are. I look to the depths of your heart. I know when you mourn, and I know when you rejoice. I know your troubles, and I know your dreams.

This story is not a parable. Jesus tells the disciples they must wash one another's feet because he is sending them out to see other people the way he sees them. A disciple, in response to God's love, serves other people. If you cannot see what Jesus is doing here and why he does it, you cannot be his disciple.

The teaching of tonight's Gospel is that when we learn how to serve, without cost, without conditions, we will learn how to love, and when we learn to love others, we will understand what love is; then, we will understand who God is and what it means to be His disciple.

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