Today’s Gospel verses follow on the Holy Thursday scene of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. With that model for our behavior, Jesus commands that we wash each other’s feet. We are well-programmed as Christians to offer our service readily, but tend to be reluctant to accept a ministry of service from others. Somehow it seems less respectable to be on the receiving end. Today Jesus reminds us that, when we accept the service of whomever he sends, we also accept him and the One who sent him. Whether giving or receiving, those bringing love and humility to their service are the very image of God for one another.

Do I appreciate the balance in my life where God’s will for me blends those times when I am his strength for the world, with those times when that world weighs heavy and I draw his strength from another?

—Jim O’Donnell is a long-serving deacon at Gesu Church, University Heights, OH. He is also a University Hospitals physician specializing and leading a research team in nuclear medicine.