I have given you a model to follow, as I have done…so you also must do…
In his letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul reminds us of the words that Jesus shared at the Last Supper, this is my body that is for you…do this in remembrance of me…this is the cup of the new covenant in my blood…drink it in remembrance of me. Familiar words to us, we hear them every time we participate in the Eucharist. But this night, we hear even more! If you are going to share in my body and blood, there is more you must do. We too have to get up from the table, remove our outer garments and tie a towel around our waist, bend down and wash the feet of those we journey with.
What outer garment do we take off? The garment of prejudice, bias, judgment; the garment of pride, ego and superiority; the cloak of indignity, inequality and insecurity; the cloak of power and control? The garment we take off may change with each passing day, some will be harder that others to remove, but because we have shared in the body and blood, we will find the strength and the ability to remove the outer garment, once removed, we are then able to bend down, and gaze loving eyes on the other and wash feet. We may also discover that we are able to allow the other to wash our feet!
Without the burden of the ‘cloak’ we are able to truly live in the freedom of the children of God – free from all that weighs us down and open to new life in the spirit of the resurrection.
Faith Offman is the Associate Director of Ministry at St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center in Detroit, Michigan.