At the Last Supper, Jesus kneels on the ground. Jesus rolls up his sleeves and attaches a towel to his waist. Jesus goes to work washing the apostles’ yucky feet. The Lord is very clearly taking the form of a slave. Meanwhile, Peter is scowling, arms crossed in consternation. The Son of God, the Teacher, has appropriated the servant’s role and it makes Peter really uncomfortable. “You will not wash my feet ever!” he exclaims. “Do not come to me like that.”
It’s not hard to imagine is it? Refusing God because he comes to you in a way you don’t like or understand? Probably you’ve done the same. And probably you didn’t even know it because, you think, that’s just not how God acts.
You will not wash my feet ever! Peter refuses Christ’s touch and God’s cleansing work because he expects that the Son of God behave differently. It was not an uncommon reaction to Christ: He came to John at the berm of the Jordan to be baptized, and John said “No. You baptize me.” He foretells his passion and death to Peter and who responds urgently “No, Lord. It will not happen to you.” At the home of a Pharisee named Simon, Jesus is approached by a woman. She is weeping. She kneels down to the earth and anoints his feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. Simon responds, “If this man were a prophet he would know what kind of woman touches him.” But he did know. And he felt honored.
We have to be very careful sometimes. St. Paul informs the Corinthians that “God is at work in you, Both to will and to work for his own good pleasure.” It is not up to us to determine how God works. Our ways are not his ways. What is important is that when we awake from our religious stupor to find him at work in our lives, we are able to marvel at his presence, his attention and love—even if, it’s not at all how we expected it to be.
+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
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