Pope: everyone must be a servant and the tallest must be the smallest

Francis celebrated the ‘in coena Domini’ Mass in a prison in Velletri washing the feet of 12 inmates. "It is true that in life there are problems: we quarrel among ourselves . . . but this must be a thing that passes, a passing thing, because in our hearts there must always be the love to serve others, of being in the service of others."


Velletri (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis said that service to others should be the guiding principle of those who are strong, as evinced by the example of Jesus who washed the feet of the apostles, a practice that was traditionally associated with slaves.

The pontiff spoke before performing the traditional ceremony of washing the feet during the Mass, celebrated in a prison in Velletri, a town not far from Rome.

For the Holy Father, this was his fifth in coena Domini Mass in a prison. On previous occasions, he carried out the same ceremony in Casal del Marmo, Rebibbia, Paliano and Regina Coeli. The Velletri facility holds 577 people, 60 per cent of whom are foreigners. The Pope washed the feet of nine Italians, a Brazilian, a Moroccan and an Ivorian.

Speaking without a prepared text, Francis noted that serving is doing something that one needs to do. It is about brotherhood and humility. For this reason, bishops repeat Jesus’s action. "Bishops,” said the Pope, “must be the greatest servant. Each of us must be the servant of others. This is Jesus’s rule and the Gospel’s rule: the rule of service, not of domination, of doing evil, of humiliating others."

Francis went on to stress that Jesus told his people how the leaders of nations dominate them, but that it should not be like that among themselves. The tallest must be the smallest.

"It is true that in life there are problems: we quarrel among ourselves . . . but this must be a thing that passes, a passing thing, because in our hearts there must always be the love to serve others, of being in the service others."

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