Are you going to school right now? Yes? No? You may be in vacation? One thing is certain, you continue to learn! Indeed! You go on learning all our life. There is always something new to discover. It is exciting! Do you know that Jesus’ disciples also went to school? Yes, their teacher, their teacher is the Lord. In our last talk, we saw that He taught them how to look at the world as God does. Today they will learn a new lesson. What is the lesson of the day? This is what we will find out by listening to this story that you will find in the Gospel of John in chapter 13.
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Full text of this story :
Tonight people are going to celebrate the feast of the Passover. In each family, they will have a big meal and hymns will be sung. This is the last Passover that Jesus will celebrate with his disciples. – Go and prepare what you need for the meal, Jesus says to Peter and John. – Yes, Lord, but where do you want us to prepare it? – Go to Jerusalem! When you have entered the town, you will meet a man who‘s carrying a water jug. Follow him into the house where he will enter, and ask the owner of the house where the hall for the Passover is located. He will show you upstairs a large room with rugs and cushions. This is where you will do the preparations. Peter and John arrive in Jerusalem. – Oh! Look! Says one of them, do you see this man over there he is carrying a jug. Let’s follow him! Everything happens exactly as Jesus said. They cook lamb, breads and vegetables. The house is filled with those good smells of cooking. Near the front door, they leave a jug filled with water, a bowl and a cloth. People will use it to wash and wipe the feet of Jesus and the disciples. When they arrive, they will have dirty feet. Their sandals do not protect them from the dust of the road. People always do it before entering a house, especially on a day of celebration. It is the least important servant who washes the guests’ feet. Towards evening, Jesus and the disciples arrive for the Party. At the moment when they are about to enter the house, the disciples stop and watch with concern the bowl and the jug of water. – There is no servant here, they think. Who is going to wash our feet? Matthew, James, Philip, Andrew? … Nobody moves. They are immersed in their thoughts. – Ah! No, not me, Peter think to himself, I am not going to do that! I am not their servant, I am not going to wash their feet. It’s too degrading! – They shouldn’t count on me, another thinks, I won’t stoop to doing that! It’s humiliating. It’s up to them to do it! Nobody makes a move. They sit at the table as if nothing had happened. Suddenly Jesus says to them: – This is the last time we are all together, that’s why I really wanted to celebrate this Passover with you. In a short time, I will suffer a lot. Did they hear? Not sure, they might still be wrapped in their private thoughts. Jesus stands up. He takes the cloth and puts it around his waist as do servants. He pours the water in the bowl and kneels in front of one of the disciples. He washes his feet and wipes them. He goes to the next one and He does the same, then to the third, to the fourth. The disciples do not say a word. They watch, deeply shocked. They are ashamed. Their Lord takes the place of a servant. He does what they have refused to do. Jesus arrives in front of Peter. He kneels before him. Pierre withdraws his feet: – No! Not you, Lord! No way! He cries out. You are the Master, the Lord, it’s not for you to do that! You’re not going to wash my feet! – Peter! Jesus says to him, if I don’t wash your feet, you will not be able to continue to be my disciple. – Really! In that case Lord! Wash me! I want to be your disciple forever. Wash me! Wash my hands and my head too! – No! Jesus says to him. I only wash the feet because they got dirty during the walk. Jesus finishes. He puts the bowl away and goes back to the table with them. – Do you understand why I did this? He asks them. I wanted to give you an example to follow. You call me Master and Lord and you are right because that‘s what I am and yet I will give my life for you because I love you. As for you do love each other too, take care of each other and don’t argue to know who’s the greatest Do you want to follow me? So do like me and you will truly be my disciples. All bow their heads. They are ashamed. They realize how proud they are, always wanting to have the best place. It is a lesson in humility that cannot be forgotten.
1, 2 3, 4 AND YOU AND ME! Have you understood the lesson Jesus gave to his disciples? Yes he taught them a lesson in humility. He showed them how to behave, to behave to each other. Humility is the opposite of pride. That is to say, it prompts you not to brag, not to think you’re better than others, not to put yourself above them and not to despise them but it makes you love them, help them. Do you want to please Jesus? So do like Him. Take care of those around you, whether at home, at church, at school.
4, 3, 2, 1 AND WE PARENTS! Jesus teaches by his words but also by his life. That day He didn’t make a big speech but He put his teaching into practice. The disciples understood the message. Let’s do the same in our everyday life, in the family, at work, in our relationships with others, and our children will understand. In turn, they can live the teachings of Jesus. They are great observers and good imitators but you can’t cheat on them. Who we are and what we do speaks louder than what we say. May they find in our families, those around them and in the church examples to imitate.