I am John. Watching Jesus.
Lately I’ve been watching him more closely. He has been quieter than usual. He has been going off alone to pray more frequently, and each time he comes back, he looks as if he had been crying. Over the last few weeks, he has been eating less, fasting at times. He has been getting thinner, and looking more gaunt.
And so I watch Jesus tonight, more closely than usual. I was the first to see him get up as the others around the table were chatting and laughing. I watched him change and take the basin. He came to me and knelt before me. He looked at me, and asked to wash my feet.
My eyes told him what I felt. How could I let HIM wash my feet? But his eyes told me that he wanted to do this; he needed to do this. And I silently gave my consent. I understood him…
I washed their feet one by one. These browned, callused, chafed feet that have followed me everywhere in these past 3 years. These feet which have travelled far and wide, these feet which have walked on water and on rocks… These feet which still have so much ground to cover in following me.
As I washed each of their feet, the Father revealed to me how they would go to their own passion and death. These young men who would all give their lives to me and for me.
My heart is filled with gratitude and love for them. Their eyes are so innocent – they do not know what they need to go through in such a short while. As I washed and dried each pair of feet, I pray for them.
“Thank you, Father, for John… Peter… James… Bartholomew… Matthew… Bless them, Father. Keep them safe. Give them courage when they are afraid. Let them remember me and all that I have taught them. Help them to do what I have taught them to do…”
I tell them, “Unless you let me wash your feet, you will have no part in me.”
Yes, let me wash your feet now, my children. There will be time enough ahead for you to wash mine (in others’). Let me serve you and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for responding to my call. Thank you for following me. Thank you for staying when you don’t understand. Thank you for loving me in every way you know how. Thank you for trusting me. You give me strength to do what I must now do… just by being you.
Love and gratitude. That was what filled Jesus’ heart at the Last Supper.
He had been anxious and afraid. He will be anxious and afraid again in the garden. But for this time, he was filled with grace to be free. And what he felt was gratitude. Not only towards the Father, but towards each of his imperfect apostles who would soon enough be fleeing and abandoning him.
He was filled with gratitude towards ME.
He sees past my ignorance, my betrayal(s), my weakness. He sees what my great love for him will eventually lead me to do. But he loves me not for what I will do. He loves me as I am now. Clueless. Ignorant. Fearful.
He thanks me for even listening to him talk. He thanks me for the privilege of teaching and guiding me. He thanks me for being… ME.
– Journal entry from Spiritual Exercises Week 3 Day 2.