Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
(Acts 13:13-25; John 13:16-20)
A school administrator remembers the day Bishop Daniel DiNardo of Sioux City, Iowa, was waiting with him for a meeting to begin. The administrator started to set up chairs for the affair, and the bishop did not hesitate to assist him. The administrator today marvels at the humility of the bishop who today serves as the cardinal-archbishop of Houston. Cardinal DiNardo that day at least took to heart Jesus’ admonition to his disciples in today’s gospel.
Jesus has just startled his followers by washing their feet. His action is equivalent to a small business person washing the cars of employees. Of course, Jesus is not surrendering his role as teacher. His point is that his followers are not to lord over but to serve one another. It has been noted that there are no positions of privilege in the Gospel of John. Even at the end of the work when Jesus commissions Peter to pastor his flock, he gives him no special authority.
We must be careful not to condemn hierarchy. Rather we should see the need for people with responsibility to have authority to fulfill it. But we also look for leaders who take to heart Jesus’ example of humble service.