Thursday, April 17, 2014

Giving Voice to "...those neglected by society" on Holy Thursday

Wikipedia Commons
Today’s tweet, “The 12 who will have feet washed by #PopeFrancis include 9 Italians, 1 Muslim from Libya, a young man from Cape Verde, Ethiopian woman,” reminds one of the value of holy days—all faiths included."

“Silvia Stefanoni, the Deputy CEO and Director of Policy and Programs at HelpAge International, told Vatican Radio the pope has shown a commitment to bring attention to those neglected by society, including the elderly and disabled. "It is giving a voice," Stefanoni said. "It's showing respect for their dignity,”  reports

Today, in the Christian faith, it is Holy Thursday, the day that Jesus in his last day, honored others by washing their feet explaining to his disciples in John 13,  “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

The historical significance is explained in the blog Patheos:

At the Last Supper, Jesus would have been the “host” and the apostles the “guests.” Washing the feet of weary travelers would have been a job delegated to a gentile slave by the host. Not even a Jewish slave would be expected to wash feet. The host of a meal would certainly not lower himself to performing this vile task himself. The feet of travelers in ancient Palestine would have been shod in sandals, and thus filthy from traveling on dirt roads…Jesus himself tells us that the “first shall be last,” (Matt. 20:16) and in the washing of the feet he shows his willingness to take on the work of the last and the least. (1)

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