From the Archbishop's desk

By Most Rev Malcolm McMahon OP

Like the Archbishop of Canterbury I had a "Lent Book". The one I chose is called Washing Feet by Tom O'Loughlin of Nottingham University. He reminds us that to wash each other's feet is a command of the Lord.

Jesus says we ought to do this to each other (John 13: 14), yet for some reason, the Church only does this symbolically on Maundy Thursday. The Mass of the Lord's Supper is an obvious place to put it, but that is the only time we do it. We do other things that the Lord has commanded daily, such as the Eucharist, so why not wash each other's feet more often?

Washing feet has many good effects. It is an act of humility; as when Pope Francis washed the feet of young offenders in a Roman prison. That has to be good for anyone in authority as it reinforces the idea that we are all called to serve each other and not to dominate. Another reason is that it causes a bond between the washer and the one who is washed. This builds relationships and community. Also in these times when ecumenism between our fellow Christians has entered a rather barren period, and communion seems a long way off, we could at least wash each other's feet as a clear sign of the new commandment that we should love each other as Jesus loved us.

Lent will be almost over by the time you read this but 'foot washing', just like love, should not be confined only to Lent.