When Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, he touched on humility. But he also sought acceptance both as messiah servant which
seemed conflicting and was hard to accept. The disciples followed Jesus’ thinking He was the anointed one and sent to save mankind: a man of power. The disciples were after a temporal kingdom where Jesus would reign and they would share in such glory. To the disciples, servanthood was farthest from their minds. And so to explain the concept of a servant leader, Jesus used himself as the example.
To complement our reading, let us look at the life of St. Isidore the Farmer whose feast we celebrate today. St. Isidore lived during the 11th century in Spain. He is popularly known to Filipinos as San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. We often picture farmers as simple folks doing humble chores and living simple lives. San Isidro Labrador was indeed born poor and all his life he was employed by a rich landlord to till the land. San Isidro was a pious man like his wife who later became St. Maria dela Cabeza. He went to mass every day, the reason he was always late in plowing the fields. But strangely San Isidro produced three times the normal output. The curious master and his co-workers were amazed to find out he was being helped by angels who plowed while he was at mass and even side by side with him later. He was also fond of animals and these came to him in great numbers. Again his companions witnessed another miracle that as San Isidro was feeding the animals, the food never ran out. The same thing happened every time San Isidro fed the beggars who trooped to him. In the end, San Isidro became greatly esteemed.
When he died at the age of 60 in 1622, he was canonized alongside four high profile saints as St. Phillip Neri, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Francis Xavier and St. Ignatius of Loyola. What is more, his body remains incorrupt to this day. To be God’s chosen people and to work as lowly servants can go hand in hand. All we need is humility to bridge the two.