Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today’s Gospel verses follow on the Holy Thursday scene of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. With that model for our behavior, Jesus commands that we wash each other’s feet. We are well-programmed as Christians to offer our service readily, but tend to be reluctant to accept a ministry of service from others. Somehow it seems less respectable to be on the receiving end. Today Jesus reminds us that, when we accept the service of whomever he sends, we also accept him and the One who sent him. Whether giving or receiving, those bringing love and humility to their service are the very image of God for one another.
Do I appreciate the balance in my life where God’s will for me blends those times when I am his strength for the world, with those times when that world weighs heavy and I draw his strength from another?
—Jim O’Donnell is a long-serving deacon at Gesu Church, University Heights, OH. He is also a University Hospitals physician specializing and leading a research team in nuclear medicine.
Lord, grant me a humble and grateful heart to receive the help of others. Remind me that others’ service is the manifestation of your love for me.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team