On Holy Thursday morning in my community, we would gather at prayer and one by one say, “My brothers, I ask pardon for all the scandal and bad example I have given and beg you to pray that I may make a worthy Easter communion.”
It was a simple request that originated from what Jesus called his disciples to do. After he washed their feet, he told his disciples to “wash one another’s feet.” Besides the forgiveness of God, we need the forgiveness of others.
God is the ultimate source of forgiveness. So, on that great night when this mystery is celebrated, Jesus “fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist.”
No one can wash away our sinfulness but God. Sin is so complex in us; we are so unaware of it. Only God knows it completely.
Yet, Jesus calls us to join in forgiving.
“Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
We need to join God in forgiving. Poor Peter, so unaware of himself. Yet Jesus washed his feet, so patiently. Shouldn’t I bear with those around me? Shouldn’t I ask that they bear with me?