When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.” (JN 13:12-14)
On a walk the other day, I waved to one of the baristas who had been serving me my morning coffee before COVID-19. She waved back and yelled from across the street that they would be reopening this coming Monday (that was this past Monday). I smiled and yelled back, “I can’t wait—see you then”
This “sheltering in place” has opened my eyes to how much I like being served, and how I’ve been taking for granted the people who serve me, especially the cooks and the wait staff in restaurants and coffee houses. Even a simple thing like brewing a pot coffee that I have now put back into my morning routine teaches me how dependent I am upon my neighbor. My old routine of ordering my coffee on my smart phone, precisely the way I’ve become accustomed to having it and then heading out for my morning walk and just at the right time arriving at the coffee house to smile at the baristas, say hello and thanks, and ah yes, savor this heavenly nectar from god as I proceed on my way.
I would need to do hours of research if I wanted to know all the people who have contributed to this simple cup of coffee, starting with the farmer in a far off country who first planted the seed into our loving Mother Earth, tended to its growth, and harvested it. All this leading to adding to my delight every weekday morning.
Luckily today I am served by many servants I don’t see nor have an opportunity to say “Thank you!” to, like the plumbers, roofers, truck drivers, and yes, the nurses and doctors serving on the front lines trying to keep me and all of us safe from the COVID-19 that has us all sheltering in place today.
God, I thank you for the many servants you’ve graced my life with and pray that you will open my eyes today to any opportunity I receive to serve you by freely sharing my gifts and talents to each person I encounter you in, especially the most needy and marginalized in our world today.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.