How to receive Christ’s inheritance

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” (Jn 13,8) These are words Christ told Peter at the Last Supper when the latter refused at first for his feet to be washed by Christ. And so, Peter immediately changed his mind, and even overdid it. “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.” But Christ just told him that washing his feet, like those of the other apostles, was enough.

Later, Christ explained why he washed the apostles’ feet. “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,” he said, “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.”

In other words, to receive Christ’s inheritance, to be like Christ as we should be, we have to have that attitude of desiring to wash the feet of the others, or to serve them, regardless of how undeserving they may appear to us.

It’s like saying that if we do not go to the extent of lowering ourselves by washing the feet of others, we are not really like Christ, we are not truly Christian. We would still be preferring ourselves over Christ.

We should have this attitude as shown to us by Christ who once said: “The Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk 10,45)

This is what love is all about, love in its most distilled form. It goes beyond merely wishing others well, or giving something and sharing things. This is love in action, in total self-giving even if nothing can be gained by doing so.

We have to do everything to acquire, develop and enrich this attitude in ourselves and among ourselves, inspiring and inculcating it in others as much as we can, for it is what is truly proper of us all.

With God’s grace, we have to exert effort to overcome the understandable awkwardness and tension involved in blending the natural and the supernatural aspects of this affair, as well as the expected resistance we can give, due to the effects of our sins.

We can make use of our daily events to cultivate this attitude. For example, as soon as we wake up from sleep in the morning, perhaps the first thing we have to do is address ourselves to God and say “Serviam” (I will serve). It’s the most logical thing to do, given who God is and who we are in relation to him.

And “Serviam” is a beautiful aspiration that can immediately put us in the proper frame of mind for the day. It nullifies Satan’s “Non serviam” and our tendency to do our own will instead of God’s, which is what sin, in essence, is all about.

What is also helpful in developing this attitude of wanting to serve and not to be served is to follow what St. Paul also said: “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.  You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” (Phil 2, 3-5)

And as we go through our day, let’s see to it that everything we do is done as a service to God and to others. Let’s not do them merely out of self-interest or self-satisfaction. That kind of attitude is highly poisonous to us, ruinous to our duty to love. Sooner or later, we will find ourselves completely engulfed by self-centeredness.

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