14th April 2022
Exodus 12:1-8,11-14; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15.
Identity crisis is the root cause of all human crisis. We are confronted daily by the struggle to live in peace amidst our differences. No one wants to be swallowed up in the crowd. As such, we resolve our fears through group identity. Being different will attract criticism and expulsion from a group. Unfortunately group identity creates a feeling of safety, while the heart remains restless. Jesus resolved this crisis through the washing of the feet of his apostles. He washed their feet within the context of the Eucharistic meal, thereby demonstrating the nature of the Eucharistic love.
The role of washing of the feet is belongs to the servant in the Jewish culture. By washing the feet of his apostles, Jesus is demonstrating that love understands and respects all differences. He commanded them to do the same among themselves. Washing each other’s feet brings us close enough to understand our differences. Jesus said to his apostles, ‘…If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’ Jesus washed their feet as the Master, it didn’t make him a servant. Love understands unity in diversity. Washing of feet is love that comes from the heart. It resolves the confusions in our hearts and minds and opens the self to the reality of harmless differences.
As partakers of the body and blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, we are expected to expel the fear differences from our hearts. The church as the body of Jesus Christ respects and promotes the differences that constitute our identities. We pray in this mass for the grace to confront our fear of difference through the love of the Holy Eucharist.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.