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There was a consecrated religious, a Redemptorist Brother, named Brother Bernie, who was a chaplain to a high school. He loved the kids very much, and they knew it and felt it. He had broken several drug rings in the school and reformed the religion department so that it was truly Catholic. They flocked around him always seeking from him a word, a look, an encouragement, which he was very ready to give. When he went home from school, there was a line of people waiting to meet him as well, mostly people who struggled with alcoholism. He himself had struggled in his early years with the drink and was very capable of offering the same consolation and healing that he himself had received. People always felt better after meeting him. He elevated them, lifted them up, made them better persons. He gave them the living Jesus Christ. He was a very icon of God's mercy to them.
I am sure we all know someone like this. We are all called to be like this, to be holy, to BE a living encounter with Jesus Christ for those around us. In today's Gospel, Jesus gives us the means of how to do this: to serve as he serves, to wash the feet of those around us with the love and redemption of God. If you want to know how to serve those around you just look at where you see Jesus serving them, how you see him washing their feet, and then do the same. "Were the master is, so the servant shall be," and "no servant is greater than his master, nor any messenger greater than he who sent him." God will place in your heart the grace, proportionate to your sincere desire to serve, to know what it is people really really truly need for you to give them, to serve, to love them, and thus elevate them, lift them right up into God.
However, we need first to realize that Jesus is washing our feet, that every time we celebrate the Eucharist, the Lord washes our unsightliness, our lowliness, our impoverished estate, by elevating us right into communion with the Most Holy Trinity. Want to see where Jesus is working in your life? Look down. Look at your feet at your littleness and you will discover the King of the Ages bending low in his audacious and incomparable humility to wash you in the Holy Spirit, in the ineffable Mercy of our Father.
On the other hand, if we claim to come to this table of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and do not let the grace of holy communion teach us to be servants and not masters of those around us, those terrifying words of the Gospel will ring true for us: "the one who ate my food has raised his heel against me". Our company will sadly then not be the saints and angels and all the ministers and servants of God, but Judas and his progeny, those betrayers, and the damned, who said, "I will not serve."
The person to help us serve as Jesus serves is Our Lady. She has the most beautiful servants heart. This is the Heart of a Mother, a refuge for all, a service station, one who fills up others, who lifts them up, interceding for them and pleading before God that he bestow upon them the covenant of communion of the Most Holy Trinity.
May the prayers of Mary, our Mother, all the angels and servants of the Lord, bring us to the holiness of God and the service of our fellow men.