Being Fully Human: Humility

The greatest thing you can learn is just to love and be loved in return. – Moulin Rouge

It’s Thursday night—a holiday. You and your friends meet in an unfamiliar place to celebrate a familiar feast. The prayers and the meal have been the same since you were a child; they’ve been the same for decades, even centuries, since the ritual was instituted. This time, however, something is different. Someone forgets the lamb. Someone breathes new life into age-old prayers. Someone becomes the Lamb.

Suddenly, that same Someone is by your feet, wearing nothing but rags. He takes your foot, encrusted with mud and covered in callouses, and washes it with warm water. He kisses your toes, like a mother would to her newborn babe. Mud smeared on His lips, He smiles up at you sheepishly, throwing you off guard with His simple act of humility. Would you pull away? One man did: “You will never wash my feet, Lord!” What about this scene dismayed him so?

Maybe it was the fact that Jesus, his Rabbi and Messiah, lowered Himself as a slave. Jesus shrugged off the pride that most men cling to. Perhaps it was this disciple’s pride that kept him from accepting God’s loving gesture. Think about it: who in our society needs someone else to wash their feet? Small children, the elderly, the infirm, the “disabled.” Only people who can’t take care of themselves are served so condescendingly; otherwise it’s considered an insult! Besides, who wants anyone touching their nasty feet, when someone might see or smell something gross? They’ll think we can’t take care of ourselves! In other words, sometimes our pride keeps us from accepting assistance from others.

If someone is called to feed you, let them. If someone is meant to clothe you or clean you, trust them. Let them be kind, learn to be humble. Too many of us are so busy worrying about how we look and what others think of us. In reality, the people whose opinions count don’t see our needs as weaknesses. If others truly care about us, they simply look with compassion and mercy on our suffering, and are moved to help.

In addition to feeding the hungry, let us allow ourselves to be fed: by our neighbour and by our God, Who teaches us how to serve and gratefully accept service.