One of four women honoured with the title of Doctor o the Church. Catherine was born in Siena.
Italy, in 1347, her parents’ twenty-fifth and youngest child. At the age of seven, following a vision
of Christ in glory, she is reported to have vowed her virginity to God. She joined the Dominican
Third Order in 1365, spending years in seclusion from the world, fasting and praying. In 1368,
after a vision where Christ accepted her as his ‘bride,” she felt called to carry this love to others.
She care for the poor and tended the sick; she corresponded with people from all walks of life,
even counseling princes and popes; she was renowned as a peacemaker. She is especially
remembered for her spiritual reflections.
She died in Rome in 1380. This great Christian mystic was canonized in 1461, became a patron of
Italy in 1939, and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1970. With St. Bridget of Sweden and
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, she is co-patron of Europe.
Acts 13: 13 -25
Psalm 89
John 13: 16 – 20
Today’s Gospel is a continuation of yesterday’s Gospel. Jesus realizes that his time on this earth is
very limited. He needs to prepare the disciples for his departure. Jesus wants his disciples to
continue his ministry. He desires that they serve one another, even if it means washing each other’s
dirty, dusty feet. They are to do what Jesus has done. Jesus taught them, served them and loved
them deeply! Now the disciples are to love, serve, teach and wash the other’s feet! Their call is to
continue Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus clearly emphasizes the importance of serving others. He tells them: “Whoever receives the
one I send receives me and they also receive the One who sent me!” Yes, Jesus wants his disciples
to love God and one another. However, they also are to love each person they meet, even if they do
not particularly like that individual. They are to love and serve everyone, just as Jesus did. No one
is to be excluded from their service and their love.
What a challenge this is for us. It can be very tempting to pick and choose the people I want to help
or serve. The reality is we naturally feel more comfortable with our friends and people we like.
However, if we truly desire to follow Jesus, we also need to reach out to every individual who
needs care, attention, patience and support. When we care for others, in a sense we may be
“washing their feet.” Jesus does not want us to exclude anyone. What a challenge that can be!
Today, I invite you to reach out to someone you normally do not interact with. It simply may be
stopping and having a brief conversation with this individual. Or you might send someone a
greeting card or let them know you are thinking of them and also praying for them! There are
many ways to “wash another’s feet.” How will we do that today?
God bless. Have a blessed day.