Thursday, 4th Week of Easter           

            A lot of things in our society tell us or show us the need to be “on top”. In different ways, our minds are conditioned that we need to be “above others” – maging angat sa iba. This creates what we call a culture of competition wherein everyone is striving to be on top.

            Well, it was not much different during the time of Jesus. Even his closest disciples wanted to be on top. Jesus made a dramatic statement about this attitude. He simply tied a towel around his waist and washed their feet. While they were worried about a title – the title of the ‘greatest’ among them – Jesus grabbed the towel and washed their feet. He dramatized in action what he had taught in words: the one who wishes to be ‘on top’ must serve.

            Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, the lowest part of their person. Jesus could have easily washed their hands or better still their faces. But Jesus chose that which we are embarrassed to show – for they are callused, dusty, smelly. We take good care of our face and our hands; but our poor feet get very little attention. Jesus is showing us that he cares for what is lowly and taken for granted.

            We cannot be too critical of the apostles, because we make the same mistake. We are too anxious to be important, to be recognized, to be appreciated, to be entitled, to be put in the right place, to have prestige. We are thinking so much about our own image that we overlook the needs of others.

            Let Jesus be our example: Forget about our own self-importance and focus on the needs of others. Be more concerned about the task to be performed by us than the title to be conferred upon us. Let us always look for ways that we can be helpful to others.

            We have to think about it, and we should not wait for tomorrow or some other day if we want to be realistic followers of Jesus. We have to do it – now! As Stephen Grellet puts it: “I shall pass through this life but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

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