It was quite the Holy Thursday Mass for all the women.
In his homily, the passionate priest spoke of us... how we, all women, were never allowed to have our feet washed during the Holy Thursday service until recently. Pope Francis made headlines last year with his unprecedented break from tradition; he included two women in his foot-washing service.
For many years, it has been the men who get washed symbolically at this Mass, who Jesus ties a towel around His waist for, who Jesus fills up the wash basin for. It was just the men who get sent out on that altar for all to see, sent out to be disciples with the command..."Go out and do to others just what I have done for you..."
Monsignor continued on to tell of how he visited Washington, D.C., recently and got to see the historical documents of America and how he still just cannot wrap his mind around Thomas Jefferson's words... "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..."
"What were you thinking?!" the priest shouted as though Jefferson was standing right there in the room. "Not including the women?! We need the women..."
"So," he continued, "I will be putting out 12 chairs in a moment - whoever wants to come up to have their feet washed may do so - perhaps it should only be women so you all know deeply that we need you..."
Yes. The world needs the women and Jesus needs the women.
Jesus doesn't need the women like the women need Jesus. Jesus needs the women, sent out and courageous, to be His hands and His feet in the world.
Jesus needs the daughters and the mothers and the sisters and the wives. He needs their selflessness to break through all the selfishness of this world and their glorious light to break through the dark that covers us all. He needs the woman trying to keep her family together and the woman in her suit running executive meetings and the woman alone with nothing left to give. He needs the St. Joan of Arcs, the women out brave in the world fighting the good fight and he needs the St. Thereses, the women who stay in and pray us all to Heaven. He needs the scarred and the bruised and broken women...the ones mercilessly broken by the world, broken by men, broken by each other. He needs the ones who give until they can't give anymore...to their children, to their friends, to their co-workers, to their community....the women who give and just keep on giving. He needs the joyful teenage girls who plan their youth nights and the old women hanging onto those rosary beads and he even needs the little girls.
He needs the two tiny little girls who excitedly ran up to have their feet washed on this blessed Holy Thursday.
He sends these ones out to wash feet as He does for them...little girls in this world growing up reflecting His love and His grace to everyone they encounter.
And after Mass, the priest processes with the Eucharist to the tabernacle for people to adore. After only 30 minutes, there are twelve of us left in the church.
Twelve women, twelve disciples of a holy Savior in this world, feet and hearts washed clean by Christ as He speaks into our lives...
....Wash one another's feet...I have set an example, so that you will go out to do what I have done for you....
And as women, we continue to serve and to give and to wash and keep washing...
Because we know, and all we desire is to give the world the glory and grace and mercy He has given us in the majesty of this Resurrection...