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Allowing myself to receive

art by John August Swanson
Tonight we celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper, and that includes the washing of the feet.  Twelve individuals come forward, representing not only the Twelve Apostles, but the entire Church community, and allow themselves to have their feet washed by Christ's humble servants, the priests.

It is my job (at the church where I work) to get 12 people to have this done.  It's hard.  Really.  People don't want to do it.  "My feet are ugly", "I have a tattoo that I don't want Father to see", "I don't like getting up in front of people".....(I am not making this stuff up).  I was getting a little upset about this, until I remember that Peter threw sort of a hissy-fit about it too:  "Lord, you will NEVER wash my feet."  I guess Peter was thinking that Jesus was just too good to do that sort of job, a job usually relegated to a lowly servant.

However, I think this is also an issue of pride.  Peter was not allowing himself to be open to the gift of service:  "I don't need that from you.  I won't allow it."  We might think this ourselves.  Have you ever had someone offer to help you, and you refused?  "Oh, no, it's no big deal."  "I can get this myself."  "No, don't go out of your way for me."  "I can handle it." That, my friends, is pride.

Sometimes  - in fact, much of the time - we need to allow people to help us.  They need it and we need it.  Okay, we might not REALLY need someone to help us clean up the kitchen after a dinner party, but we need the companionship and the conversation.  The other person may need to be needed, and feel that acceptance that comes with working side-by-side with another.  When we humbly allow ourselves to be served, we can actually serve in return - which is exactly the point Christ was making when He tied that towel around His waist and knelt down in front of his companions.

Today, allow yourself to serve and to be served.  And remember, this type of service is not just about the people around you, it is about you and your relationship to Christ. 

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