Why Wash Feet?

Our feet are what keep us grounded and mobile. To be in the world but not of it, we still need feet to meet with it. It is a terrible disability to lose feet or legs, and renders us dependent on prostheses, crutches or wheelchairs to go about our business, though very limiting.

In Semitic cultures, feet are seen as filthy, being as they are commonly in contact with dirt. I have heard it is a terrible insult to show the soles of your feet in some countries, for instance by crossing your legs when sat down.

So why did the King of the Universe make a special point of washing His disciples’ feet? As He said Himself, it was to give them an example of how to be like Him.

Christ is unafraid to descend to the depths of our depravation, to wash  our feet clean, heal them and render us mobile again, the better to serve Him and our neighbour. In all our dealings in Christ, we must so be similarly open to descending for the purposes of raising.

I feel moved to pray for chiropodists this Maundy Thursday. My brother is one, by the way. God be with them.


About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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5 Responses to Why Wash Feet?

  1. lavsdeo says:

    Reblogged this on Laus Deo.


  2. toadspittle says:

    Was it the custom to wash the feet of others in Christ’s day? Or was He breaking ground here?
    The problem sees to be – whose feet should get the treatment, these days.
    If women’s feet matter at all.
    It is good to be good to our feet, and let them walk on earth and grass whenever possible.
    A very good Good Friday to all. Toad will walk (shod) on dirt and clay, and contemplate the eternal verities.

    …Then head to town.


  3. GC says:

    Shoes are even dirtier and much worse, Brother B, and hitting another with your shoe invites very serious consequences for you. Muslims remove their shoes and bathe their feet (and certain other parts) before entering a mosque to attend prayers. Shoes may even be stolen at mosques and I’ve seen a few Muslim men going barefoot to buy rubber flip-flops after emerging from maghrib prayers and discovering that they are no longer the owners of their former footwear.

    People over here will remove their shoes before entering a house as even cleanish-looking shoes are thought to be filthy, and they probably are, more or less. It is unthinkable to wear your shoes into a house.

    I was told by a Japanese acquaintance some years ago this story about the first train ever in Japan. All the important people gathered on the platform in order to go on the first ever train ride in Japan. After they had all boarded and the train had trundled off, what a splendid array there was of all the (then) latest fashion lines in Japanese pedal apparel all over the platform!

    Of course you would remember the practice of fumi-e during the persecution of Catholics there in Japan. Japanese Catholics were discovered and dealt with when they refused to place their foot on an image of our Lord or His mother.


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