We are called to serve. But what does that mean? To serve? Jesus washes the feet of his disciples as a model for all of us to follow. He takes the lowliest task and does it with great tenderness and affection.
So what are we supposed to do? How are we called to serve? Sometimes we think too grandly. We think it must be complicated or extraordinary.
But maybe we are called to serve in ordinary simply ways. Maybe we are simply called to do small everyday things with great love.
St. Therese of Lisieux believed that her way to heaven was to do little things with great love. She saw herself as weak and little, unable to climb the rough stairway of perfection.
For her, love was the key to holiness. Love made all the difference.
Her little way is one that we can understand. Her little way is one that we can accomplish. Her little way is simply doing ordinary everyday things with great love.
Love proves itself by deeds. Jesus stoops and washes feet. This Holy Thursday is not about me washing the feet of twelve parishioners. So tonight I’m not washing feet.
After six years, you know that I am fully capable of stooping and washing your feet. The absence of that ritual this evening is a reminder that I’m not the only one who is supposed to be washing feet.
Jesus says, “I have given you a model, an example to follow. As I have done, so you must do.” Jesus washes my feet lovingly. Jesus washes my feet tenderly.
We must wash the feet of others. We must serve others. We must do this lovingly. We must do this tenderly. We must do this cheerfully.
This is easy to accomplish if we follow St. Therese’s little way. But there is one thing more we need.
At the Last Supper, Jesus doesn’t only wash his disciples’ feet. He also institutes the Eucharist.
At the Last Supper, Jesus takes bread and says, “This is my body for you to eat.” He takes a cup of wine and says, “This is my blood for you to drink.”
Bread and wine become divine sustenance. Bread and wine become flesh and blood. Food for the journey. Food to nourish and strengthen.
Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist gives us strength to serve. Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist gives us grace to do simple, ordinary everyday things with great love.
We might cook for others with great love, or clean for others with great love. We might do the grocery shopping or the laundry with great love.
We might visit the sick with great love. We might encourage others to blossom with great love.
We might laugh and joke and smile with great love. We might be cheerful with great love.
We might heal the hurts of others with great love, with tenderness, acceptance and forgiveness.
We might say please and thank you with great love. We might listen with great love. Whatever ordinary things Jesus sets before us, we are called to accomplish with great love.
We are all called to follow the example Jesus has set. “As I have done, so you must do.”
Nourished by the Divine Food we receive tonight from God’s table, we go forth to serve. We go forth to wash feet in our weary world.