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Foot-Washing on Maundy Thursday: Looking up at Wounded Humanity

Yes, doubtless true, but it would do us good to undertake, if only for a moment, the thought-experiment of imagining the Church having made foot-washing, rather than the breaking of bread, our habitual sacrament of communion, our anamnetic mode. Mass would certainly take longer and be messier, with bowls of water risking spillage on our nice clean floors. Sandals and pop-socks might be our Sunday morning best, whatever the weather, for their ease of removal.

The way we looked at each other would certainly and quite literally change. The laity would find themselves looking down on Father, now stripped of fine vestments and with a towel around the waist, while the foot-washing cleric would unavoidably look up to the wounded humanity of those he served, as well as getting to know their bunions, corns and other signs of wear and tear. Rather than a disc of bread, the Real Presence would be found in touch, caress, an act of tender care: “This is my body,” in the person before whom I kneel. And folk would answer “Amen” to that naming recognition – a humbling culmination of the dynamic of Incarnation.

Source: The Tablet

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