The sun hasn’t set on Holy Thursday on the Pacific Coast of the USA yet and already the loud weeping and gnashing of teeth has begun. The online groans and gasps are primarily arising from those who call themselves Catholic but are, in their heart of hearts, persuaded that they know better than the Pope. As a result, they place the Pope, any pope, continually ‘in the dock’, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis.
Today these Catholics choose to be scandalized because our Holy Father washed the feet of young men and women who are incarcerated in Rome. Sounding for all the world like the Pharisees who chose to be scandalized because Jesus chose to heal sick people on the Sabbath, in straining at gnats these Catholics swallow camels.
At the risk of gagging on a camel ourselves, let’s humbly allow the Lord to wash our dirty feet. Then let’s take His word into our hearts and actively search out others who have dirty feet which need to be washed. We won’t have to look far. Then, while we are serving others, let’s say to Jesus, “Thank you, sweet Lord, that you’re allowing me to serve you in my spouse, in my children, in the poor, the lonely, the sick or the sad.”
Toward the end of his short life, when St. Francis Xavier found himself in Japan, he wrote back to his Jesuit brothers in training, “Let us not be the type of Jesuit who despises menial work but let us work with all our might at whatever domestic task the superior gives, no matter how lowly….for it’s not the physical exertion that counts towards man’s progress, nor the nature of the task but the hearty readiness and spirit of faith and joy with which it’s undertaken in imitation of Christ our Lord and the great confusion of the devil.”