The figure of the true leader
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come … He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end … So, during supper … he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them … He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” … So when he had washed their feet (and) put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “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. Jn 13,1-15
When the soldiers will come by night time to arrest him, asking who was “Jesus of Nazareth”, he will answer: “It’s me”. And, with reference to the disciples, he will add: “I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go” (Jn 18,4-8). Today, Simon Peter says to Jesus: “Master, are you going to wash my feet ?”. And Jesus: “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later”. To wash the feet of all, to take responsibility and to pay in person, these are the three hallmarks of the true “leader”. Today Jesus gives to Peter the example of the first hallmark, then he will give him the other two. Peter does not understand at this time, but he will understand later, when he will have to be the servant of all, taking over the responsibility of the church and eventually paying with his live, as Jesus. This is the true way to be “leader”, to which the false one is opposed, now common enough: to be served, download to the collaborators hard work and responsibility and charge, possibly, the errors to the others. This attitude is so widespread that many parents, dealing with their first wedding difficulties, do not hesitate to smash the family by downloading on the children the consequences of their mistakes. Our friend Joseph comes to our mind, who, while facing the sickness of the wife and the difficulties with the children, is keeping the family together, valuing all of them in a common growth, including him.