When Jesus washes his disciples feet it is an event of multiple layers of meaning .He performs the work of a household servant and then holds that up as a model for all who follow Him. The washing of feet is a lost custom in our western world. In a world where walking was then normal mode of transportation, in a world before pavement, in a world of sandals or bare feet as the only footwear, the washing of feet was an act of courteous refreshment. Our world is a wearisome place. Walking through the normal encounters of life causes people to carry the dirt of discourtesy, unfairness, self-centeredness and the like. Serving others is the role of Jesus followers in giving refreshment and renewal by acts of courtesy and thoughtfulness in all our encounters.
Of course, Serving Others demands even more. Our world is full of people whose needs far exceed a moment of courtesy and blessing. Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25) sets out principles of serving that we carry out both through the ministries of our parish and through organizations in our community. Caring for the hungry and homeless, the sick and the prisoner, being the advocate for the poor, the powerless and the stranger (immigrant) are all found in the Gospels and the Law and the Prophets. To be an apprentice of Jesus we must imitate His actions, and that means Serve Others.