This past summer I had the privilege of taking a group of boys and their fathers to Rome for a pilgrimage. One day, after walking ten miles in the scorching sun and then playing a soccer game, one of the boys named Daniel got very ill with heat exhaustion. He was throwing up, weak, aching all over. The next day, still sick, he stayed back in the retreat center while the rest of us went out to celebrate Mass on the tomb of a saint.
Right after Mass, I gathered my portable Mass kit, alb, and chasuble and went to go check on him. I walked into the lounge where he was lying on the couch, looking quite ill. I asked, “Daniel, how are you feeling?” He looked up and croaked, “Terrible.” Then, noticing the items in my arms, he added, “Do you need help carrying that?”
It is one thing to serve when you are feeling good, when you’re having fun. Many times I have done service projects with friends that have turned out to be a blast. But it is quite another thing to serve when you are sick, suffering, worried, around unpleasant people, or finding the work to be repulsive.
Christ served by doing one of the most unpleasant tasks — washing the filthy feet of His disciples. And He served when He was filled with anxiety about His impending death. But neither of these things prevented Him from taking a towel and basin and bending before the feet of men.