Jesus did not come into this world to be served, although he is God and surely deserves it. He came to serve. He came to serve you. And through you, he wants to serve everyone you know.
After inviting us to sit back and enjoy being served by our wonderful God, Jesus says in the Gospel passage for the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper: "I have given you a model to follow -- what I have done for you, you should also do." His foot-washing ceremony is a model of service.
His model is very uncomfortable. It means loving others so much that we do good deeds for them, even for the people we dislike, those whose "feet" (behaviors, actions, the way they walk through life) are disgusting.
When we serve those who have not served us the way they should, we unite ourselves to Jesus by becoming Eucharist for them. What does it mean to "become Eucharist"?
First, we approach Christ in the Eucharist, and knowing that we are responsible for our own conversions, we tell him: "I am not worthy...." Then, after we receive him in the Eucharist, we return to our pews united to him. Communion means "with union."
United to Christ, we are now as much the Eucharist as he is. At the end of Mass, we're commissioned to go out and be Eucharist -- be the real presence of Christ -- in the world.
Years ago, God drove this point home to me. In a prayer meeting, I surprisingly found myself washing the feet of a priest who had betrayed his parishioners (and me and my family and some friends) through alcoholism and lust. I tell you, his feet were ugly! But much uglier was his refusal to accept the truth about his addictions and sins.
What did the foot-washing accomplish? It made a clear statement about mercy. And on a personal level, it gave me the opportunity to show him that I was willing to serve him if he was willing to accept it as part of a healing process. He wasn't, and eventually the bishop removed him from parish ministry, but the foot-washing ceremony healed me of my own unwillingness to love unconditionally. Jesus washed my feet along with my heart. And I gained a much greater understanding of the love that Jesus has for me every time he washes my ugly feet (my sins).
Remember, though, that Jesus never gives up on anyone. Years later, he washed the feet of this priest with the gift of mercy through a redemptive time of earthly purgatory, which took the form of a painful disease that began in his feet and spread. As he endured pain that medications couldn't totally eliminate, he humbly allowed the disease to purge him of his pride and his addictions. In this, he experienced Jesus embracing him with passionate love before he died.
From a reader named Bobby: "Too often Catholic pencil pushers use their hierarchy of intelligence, throwing out four syllable words, forcing the reader to open a dictionary, promoting self and not Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Other astute writers will quote from everything they have read and springboard into a verse or two from the Bible. What I like about GNM, you present the truth in a simple and non-compromising format that anyone can understand. Jesus taught on the level of the people who were listening."