This Pope is cool. I love people that try to follow Jesus even if and especially when it means not playing by society’s rules.
Check out the article at http://time.com/4272146/pope-francis-washes-feet-muslim-migrants/ . If you wish, you can find more info on the web by searching for “pope washes Muslim feet” on Google.
I’ve learned that the best test for the rightness (or righteousness) of an action is to see how it lines up with scripture. Usually I’ll dig into Jesus’ life as recorded in the gospels and test the event against what he did or said. How do the Pope’s actions compare to the words and acts of Jesus? Did Jesus wash the feet of immigrants or those deemed (by some) to be his enemies? How did he handle people that may have different beliefs? Three situations come to mind.
We all know the parable of the Good Samaritan. Did you know a Samaritan was a seen as a half-breed, sacrilegious, lesser than human person by the Jews? And that in the humanity that Jesus wore during his earthly ministry he was born a Jew? The religious types (who would that be now days?) passed by the injured man by the side of the road. The Samaritan gave of his time and money to see to it this man would be restored to health. (Luke 10:25-37) So, Jesus chose the enemy of the Jews as the hero of the story. Cool.
Another Samaritan encounter was with the woman at the well. Not a story or parable but actual events recording Jesus’ actions. He runs into the woman at the well and asks for some water. This was radical enough that a strange man and woman are in a private conversation (not cool then, maybe now either?) yet this woman is part of the despised race from Samaria. In the end, Jesus calls on her to make better choices in her life and reveals himself as the messiah. (John 4:7-26)
Last, Jesus did wash the enemy’s feet. Judas was present at what we call The Last Supper where Jesus knelt and washed his followers’ feet. Judas had already made his deal to betray Jesus and knew this while his feet were being cleaned by the great servant / leader (John 13:1-17). By the way, Jesus knew Judas was about to betray him, too, yet served him just as he served the others. Some big, deep lessons in this. Think about it.
Jesus is about truth and love. He consistently delivered this message and carried it out as the God-man while living among us. It becomes difficult to figure out sometimes how to live that out and determine our right attitude with groups of people different from us. While among that “same” group there are splinter factions that want to kill us.
I wonder if somehow we could figure out how to love our enemies. Perhaps we could help build schools, provide clean drinking water and care for their widows and orphans. How would the next generation of people that hate us now feel differently? I’m not sure (with God anything is possible) that we can change the hearts of the young, radical extremist men, but what about their sons and younger brothers? If our only approach is one of military and defense, will they see that their fathers and older brothers are right about our country?
Love is the hard road. But it is the only one that leads to ultimate peace.