Written by Zia H Shah MD
The synoptic gospels, Mark 14:22-25, Matthew 26:26-29, Luke 22:13-20, depict Jesus as presiding over the Last Supper. References to Jesus’ body and blood foreshadow his crucifixion, and he identifies them as a new covenant. In the gospel of John, the account of the Last Supper has no mention of Jesus taking bread and “the cup” and speaking of them as his body and blood; instead it recounts his humble act of washing the disciples’ feet. (John 13:1-17)
The Gospel of John was the last of the four canonical Gospels to be written and perhaps the writer saw befitting to elevate the stature of the apostles, especially Peter’s, to base the Church on their authority.
Hence, their feet washed by Jesus, himself.
Regardless of the reasons of the opposing stories between the synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John, about the all important night in the Christian history, this is the account, where in, the washing of feet finds a precedence, to express ones humility.
This year Pope Francis not only washed the feet of prisoners but also of a Muslim to express his humility and his solidarity with the vulnerable in human society and of all different faiths.
We applaud his gesture of humility and openness to other faiths, especially Islam.
Some have alleged that it may only be a publicity stunt. We invite the Pope to prove them wrong and demonstrate his humility in other ways that cannot be construed in negative light.
I know the Pope has also emphasized open dialogue with Judaism, Islam and atheism on more than one occasion.
Therefore, we invite him to visit the Muslim Times and engage with us in a dialogue. We want his indulgence in discussing many of the fundamental teachings of Christianity.
We have posts in the Muslim Times about Trinity, nature of Jesus, Eucharist, vicarious atonement, Original Sin, status of mother Mary and many others.
We will be delighted, possibly ecstatic, to discuss with him, his understanding of Christianity and would like to learn from him, where we have gone wrong in understanding these all important doctrines of Christianity.
If Pope Francis will demonstrate his humility and openness by visiting us, I will have no reservation, in personally washing his feet publically, when he visits USA.
I know the Pope does not have time to regularly read the Muslim Times, but we will bank on our Catholic readers to deliver this invitation to him.
I will also personally tweet it to him and wait his response.