Friday, 30 March 2018

Washing Of The Feet: A Lesson In Humility

Growing up as a Catholic, I was taught to observe the Holy Week with solemnity. During my growing up years, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday were the quietest of days as there were no TV shows on air and radio programs were limited to airing the 'Pasyon'.  

What my mother played on her cassette player during those years were her recorded religious songs like the 'Our Father' and the 'Ave Maria' sung by Mario Lanza. These recorded songs were played on the religious float, or the pasos, during the religious processions on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday to accompany the praying parishioners.

But when I left for Korea, I rarely spent the Holy Week back home to observe the Lenten rites. This year, however, was different. I was home and had the time to watch them all again.


In the afternoon of Maundy Thursday, during the Holy Mass, the unique Lenten rites like the washing of the feet and the transfer of the Most Blessed Sacrament were observed. Our parish priest performed the Catholic tradition of the washing the feet of the 12 laymen who portrayed the 12 apostles. 

He knelt in front of each apostle, took a basin with water, and washed both of their feet. He then wiped them off with a towel.

This tradition is more than just religion. It is a lesson about humanity; a lesson in humility.


According to the Bible, after the Passover meal, Jesus individually washed the feet of his apostles, who questioned him why he was doing so. In the ancient times, the feet were probably the dirtiest part of the anatomy as they only wore sandals. The dirt, dust, and probably a few skin problems made the feet a filthy pair, especially if you were walking around villages and desserts without washing.


And doing so - the holding, washing, and wiping of someone else's feet, especially those of your followers were not only a symbolic gesture to show that by being a leader, one has to serve first. 

But that lesson is probably best for politicians and government officials who think that their position of power allows them to exploit and abuse their offices, cheat and steal whatever and however they can, and make us all believe they are squeaky clean, genuine civil servants. 


Aside from this kind of people, we have our neighborhood characters whose main agendum every day is to brag about their phantom wealth, their bogus achievements, or hypocritical charities. Now, these people are probably the scariest kind because, unlike politicians and government officials, their hypocrisy, self-praise, and posturing are not co-terminus with any term of office! Ha-ha-ha!

And we all know one or two of this kind, I'm sure.


It's sad, but this is humanity. It's part of being human. Well, since washing their feet in a basin of water won't definitely change their character, drowning them in one is probably a good idea. Ha-ha-ha! Kidding!

So, what to do about this people? Praying for them is one; ignoring them is another. We badly need to choose our leaders as well as our neighbors. :-)

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