To Wash Each Other's Feet

Ronald Rolheiser
San Antonio, Texas
December 31, 2016
Reproduced with Permission

We cover our nakedness, too, with a specific ethnicity, language, religious identity, culture, political affiliation, ideology, set of moral judgments, and a whole gamut of wounds and indignation. They are, in essence, our "outer garments".

We also possess a deeper inner garment. Our real substance, identity, and capacity to act with larger hearts, lies underneath.

When, in John's Gospel, Jesus is described as "taking off his outer garment", more is meant than just the stripping off of some physical clothing.

As John poetically describes it, Jesus' inner garment was precisely his knowledge that he had come from God, was going back to God, and that therefore all things were possible for him, including the washing of the feet of someone who already knew had betrayed him.

One of the deep meanings of the Eucharist is that it invites us to realize that like Jesus, we too have come from God and are going back to God, and therefore all things are possible for us, including stripping off the outer garments that so divide us, so that we can begin to wash each other's feet across all lines of difference and division.

This reflection is an excerpt from the book "Our One Great Act of Fidelity", Chapter 11, "The Eucharist as the Ultimate Invitation to Mature Discipleship - to Wash Each Other's Feet".