Scripture: Then [Jesus] poured some water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist . . . “I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another’s feet… Now that you know this truth, how happy you will be if you put it into practice!” (John 13: 5, 14, & 17)
Meditation: A life-sized bronze statue of Christ stands outside the Christ House building on Columbia Road in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood of northwest Washington, DC. It is a statue of the “Servant Christ” kneeling with a bowl of water to symbolically wash the feet of whoever passes by.
Marie worked as a cook at Christ House, and she learned the truth Jesus was teaching when He washed His disciples’ feet. She acquired the servanthood of love. Her smile lit up any room, and her cheerful willingness to alter or add to her already-busy schedule bore witness to her inner light of love. For instance, there were occasions when a Christ House patient would develop a need for a special dish or diet such as chicken soup or clear liquids. Marie wouldn’t just open up a can of soup; she would make some from scratch! She lived out Christ’s command to be a willing, loving servant to others.
Marie was born in Kenya, and over the years she saved up enough from her modest pay to obtain a better home for her father who still lives in that African country. When others needing homes moved in with him, she saved again to enlarge the dwelling.
The salt and light of Marie’s life made me want to give my best to the work at Christ House. Thus, she became a leader for me through her servanthood. Often on my way into work at 7:00 a.m. I would see Marie walking to early Mass, knowing she had a full day of hard work in the Christ House kitchen ahead of her after worship. I had to admit to myself that I probably would have slept later most of the time instead of going to early church on a workday.
As God’s glory was shown 2,000 years ago in the lives of the humble Mary and Joseph who were willing servants of God, so the glorious love of the Savior was shown in the life of the humble cook, Marie.
Prayer: As this holy season approaches, may we learn better to tread the journey of humility and servanthood which You, dear Lord, have journeyed before us. May we learn in the doing of it, that loving servanthood is, paradoxically, the road to joy. Amen.
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