Why Feet?

Why Feet?

I’m not a fan of feet. Oh, I’m thankful for mine, but I don’t generally find feet—with the exception of the Fred Flintstone feet of babies—appealing. So it makes sense to me that washing a guest’s feet was the task of a servant in Jesus’ time.

If washing feet was a dirty, smelly job for servants in the time of Jesus, I wonder what the modern-day equivalent of washing feet might be . . .

A deeper question is about Jesus’ motivation for washing his apostles’ feet at the Last Supper. In John’s Gospel, we read that “when [Jesus] had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them,

‘Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me “teacher” and “master,” and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (13:12–15).

In our sanitized world of modern conveniences, we don’t have as much occasion to literally get our hands dirty as our ancestors did. Yet, we’re still called to “get our hands dirty” through sacrifice and service as Jesus modeled for us. It may involve patiently listening to and drying the tears of a friend who is struggling. Or it may mean slowing down and explaining the process yet one more time for a coworker, student, or child. Or it might be insisting that the one(s) who prepared the Easter feast remain seated while you (and your crew) clear the table and clean up the dishes and kitchen. Whatever “washing feet” translates into in your life, do it with love!

photo credit: iofoto / photoxpress.com


About the Author

Joan McKamey has served in many capacities in her 15 years with Franciscan Media. She is currently the managing editor of Catholic Update, a monthly publication for adult faith formation of individuals and small groups. She also draws on her years as a parish catechetical leader in her columns for the monthly e-newsletter Faith Formation Update. She is married and is raising a teenage daughter.