Archbishop’s homily on the feast of San Cayetano
The scene of Jesus, Master, washing the feet of his disciples, is one of those scenes from the Gospel that one never tires of looking at and remember. The washing of feet is etched in the memory of the Church and every Holy Thursday repeated the gesture of Jesus and our turn again the heart: Our Lord Jesus Christ washed the feet and showed us that if we imitate what we’ll be happy: “If taste this truth-that power is service-and practice, be happy “.
San Juan puts a stunning setting to this gesture of the Lord. It tells us that Jesus was aware that it was “his last gesture” because “his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father”. The Lord wanted to express his final gesture to wash it off the feet of his friends. The dusty and tired feet road.
Second John tells us that it was a gesture of love “to the end”. We say that the Cross was the end of love. And it is true, was the bloody end: love to death. But life has another end that is not painful but cute: the end of love tenderly to detail. The Lord wanted to share the Eucharist fully purified, as if they were already in heaven, cleaning up those little spots that seem inevitable, the last time … And personally wanted to do this service. Did you see that there are times in large parties, a detail threatens to spoil the party? Well, that way this service will wash the feet of Jesus and tell us to wash each other: on the side of forgiveness also the details, it is sometimes more difficult.
And the third thing John tells us is that the Lord was aware that at the time “had all the power in the world in his hands”, that “the Father had given all things into his hands.” And what did he do with all that power? We concentrated on a single gesture, a gesture of service: the service of forgiveness in every detail. And since power became forever in service. If the most powerful use all his power to serve and forgive, which uses it for anything else ends up looking foolish. With that simple gesture Jesus “brought down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly” as well said the Virgin his Mother and our Mother. Of course I did not learn the powerful but much later, but the gesture of the King were emptied of all meaning gestures are made to gain power, to pretend to, to subjugate other power or enriched.
The anti-image, the mirror image, reinforcing the Lord’s testimony is that of Pilate washing his hands. If I had known before him to the Almighty and the Almighty had used his power to wash the feet of his disciples, never had washed her hands! With that gesture came forever in the history of ridiculous. And whenever we have some power washing our hands and we blame others – children, parents, the neighbor, to the above, to the world situation, to reality, to the structures or the whatsoever-even the smallest suffering of our brothers, we side of Pilate let thicken pathetic row of those who used the power for their own gain and fame.
Power is service and service to be good, must reach the smallest detail that makes the other “sits well attended” dignified. So what of washing feet. The Lord wants us to feel included in his, in his life of communion with the Father, and that there is nothing to tarnish the greatness of that friendship. He wants us all together. With this gesture, while us equal and we sister. And sister making us part of that power: the peer service, the service until you notice that the serving is equal and that is attended.
That which is usual in the family, in which the birthday invites and makes the roast, or mom serves food until the day of the mother, we need to get to work life, a life of neighborhood, social and political life … And for this there is no other way than the testimony. The speeches are not enough, you need evidence. He who has a little more power must be set to serve a little more. Here the internal would be fierce, and sometimes gives that cute domestic family in which the mother and daughters are fighting them apron to wash the dishes.
Maybe someone will think that we are naive to say these things. But our people know very well what is the power and what is the service. Our people know very well that come to San Cayetano, at the foot of the Mighty San Cayetano, is a religious gesture-that’s why it is a political gesture, in the highest sense of the word. Touching the saint’s feet, to wash them with her tears, to whisper your order and beg the forgiveness of Jesus that cleanses and dignity, our people are telling us all that the power that Jesus gave to the saint’s service, that all power is service and not have to use it for something else. He says quietly, with gentle and patient gesture this endless line of tired feet and dirty perhaps, in the eyes of Jesus, are the world’s most beautiful feet:
because beautiful are the feet of a people who never tires of wanting peace pilgrimage, because beautiful are the feet of a people who again and again lets his Lord wash them and so regains his dignity;
beautiful because the whole wash all together, because not only is clean all the man but all men, as Paul VI said;
beautiful clean because once set off to wash the feet of his brothers, with the hope that this gesture gives a humble and almighty power that includes all those values that make community: justice, work, bread and details match and we dignify us and make us feel good;
beautiful today, August 7, because the tail pilgrimage with Jesus and San Cayetano to restore dignity and community values.
With San Cayetano asked the Virgin, the Mother who taught that Jesus washing feet, we would teach us, we record it well in memory, so that every time that life presents us with a choice between including or excluding take advantage serve, among other wash the feet or wash our hands before the situation of the other, we come to the eyes this image of Jesus and the joy of service takes control of our hearts and encourage us to work for the United.
Buenos Aires, August 7, 2005.
Card. Jorge Mario Bergoglio S.J.