Jesus felt that it would be so hard to persevere, that he might not be able to concentrate any more. That is why he had to get up to do something, to give an example shining into the night of fear.
Is this not what happens also to us today? Precisely in those moments where we carry a heavy burden, where we start to work hard just to forget, so that we do not have to think of the burden any more?
John 13, 4-5 says: Jesus got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.
There was the unspoken question that everybody could sense, however: „Why do you do that?“. And then the answer in verses 14-15: “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.”
Maybe Jesus is tired of the many words he has been using again and again to convey his message. Did Jesus need a simple deed to replace 1000 words, and he found it in washing the feet of his disciples?
It needs an example to show the disciples how they should live, how they are called to spread the message of Jesus into the world!
As we read in Matthew 28,19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit! “
For this is the goal: to transform everybody into a disciple of Jesus. But not many people ask: who is a disciple, and how do you become a disciple of Jesus?
To put it quite simply: every human being becomes a disciple of Jesus through baptism. And with it, he receives the duty to carry Jesus’ message into the world. By bearing witness to faith, by loving one’s neighbour, by hospitality. The point is to proclaim the message by word and deed, as Jesus did. A disciple of Jesus is also a person who follows, and that means – aside from external following – to be subject to an authority.
Immediately, Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, ‘Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.’ Then Elijah said to him, ‘Go but come back again; for what have I done to you?’ (1 Kings 19,20)
It is accepting the message that makes me a disciple: “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord” (1 Thess 1,6)
The following text tells out how a disciple should live his life:
“Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness…” (2 Tim 3,10)
Even in this day, a child learns to find his place in the world from the parents’ example. That is why the proverb says: “Like father, like son”.
Sr. Juliana NDS