This brings us to the act of washing feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. What were Jesus’ intentions and reasons for washing the feet of the apostles? The practice at that time was to offer a visitor water to wash his own feet upon welcoming him into the home and again before he set out again on the road. This was common hospitality. If a host was wealthy, a servant or slave would do this. It was unheard of that the host would perform this demeaning task. This is obvious when we see Peter’s response to Jesus’ offer to wash his feet.
So why did Jesus do it? In the Gospel of Mark, just before the triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, James and John ask Jesus for places at his right and left. The rest of the Apostles find out and are arguing about it. The Gospel of John does not relate this contention among the Apostles but we can be sure that it occurred. This last act and introduction to Jesus’ last discourse before his arrest is a sign of profound humility and a response to the contention among the Apostles as to who is the greatest among them.
Be humble and the Lord will be merciful!