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Holy Week (Thursday)
on how the world works
It was embarrassing, to be honest.
Someone else should have done it. Should have arranged for it. Washing their nasty feet before the meal.
Suddenly Jesus is kneeling down, doing what he should definitely *not* be doing. And not in a passive-aggressive way, with heavy sighs and guilt-trip glances. He’s acting like it’s natural, the obvious and right thing to do.
And it isn’t. Everyone knows that. That’s not the way the world works, not this highly-stratified society, where everyone knows their place.
Embarrassing. If anyone knew, it would lower his status. No one follows a leader or teacher who does something like this. It’s degrading.
He finishes, straightens up, looks at them.
They’re so uncomfortable.
After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.
“Are you serious right now, Jesus? That is NOT the way the world works.”
He smiles. “I know. You’re really going to seem odd.”
I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
The reading is here. It’s the same meal as yesterday’s reading, except earlier, before they eat, before Judas leaves.