By Kaelanne Jordan
Humility, love, humbleness, compassion, equality.These were some of the responses from inmates at the Carrera Convict Prison (CCP) to Archbishop Jason Gordon’s thought-provoking question, “If someone washes your feet, what does that mean to you?”
When Jesus washed the feet of His disciples at the Passover celebration, He said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you,” (Jn 13: 14–16).
Referring to this, Archbishop Gordon underscored, “in that message, He’s saying something to us about how we are called to live. We are called to be of service to one another. And that service is really a showing of love to one another. We all serve each other in one way or another.” And the question is, “How we do our service. Is it with arrogance and price and anger…or is it as humbly serving and doing it so well?” the Archbishop questioned.
The Archbishop then commented that the re-enactment of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ by the Carrera Drama School during his visit on Holy Thursday (April 6), was a humble act of service and love.
He reminded the inmates, “Every day we could find a way to serve somebody, even if it’s just letting somebody pass or handing out books when they come …every day we can find a way to be kind and show kindness to somebody inside of here.”
Archbishop Gordon gave the example of Nelson Mandela, who, during his imprisonment took care of sick prisoners. “All of them looked to him as leader but when they were really sick, he became their servant.”
The Archbishop implored, “Don’t mind your situations might be an unfortunate waste and the place might be difficult… no matter how nice the view… don’t mind we want to be somewhere else and for whatever reason we have to be right here, …what are we going to do while we here?”
He opined on one hand, inmates could make each other’s lives “absolutely miserable”, “and that ain’t taking much practice to do”. On the other hand, the inmates can choose to raise their consciousness and make choices for love, service, and humility.
“And that makes us human. Only the human, our mind, the neurobiology is wired for connection with each other. And the saddest bit for us as humans is when we don’t connect with one another positively or we connect negatively with one another, we don’t become better human beings. We become worse,” Archbishop Gordon said.
To this end, he invited the inmates to meditate on the “profound nature” of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. It is an act, the Archbishop reiterated, “that opens up for all of us, a way that we really ought to live” – with love.
Revs Patrick Laurence and Michael Smith journeyed with the Archbishop to the CCP and assisted at the Holy Thursday Mass.