"Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed David in the presence of his brothers." 16 Sam 13
Anointing people for service and leadership is an ancient ritual that religious traditions use to designate men and women as spokespersons for the entire community. In ancient Israel, priests, prophets and kings were all anointed, so too were some of the objects used for worship. In the book of Numbers we learn of Moses’ obligation to anoint the altar, the Ark of the Covenant, the lamp stand and all the temple furnishings. In this way, people and objects, having been dedicated to the Lord in a special way, are initiated into a ministry not for their own good but for the salvation of all.
Near his death, Jesus challenges his first disciples and all of us to follow him as a servant with a new "anointing" by washing the feet of others. Jesus does not want his disciples to be known by their power over others, but by their service of those most in need, thus proclaiming a new freedom and hope for all who are held captive by their faults, sins, gender, state in life, class, poverty, ethnicity and culture. In other words, leading through service breaks down all the barriers that separate us from one another.
Today, remember your own anointing at Baptism and Confirmation.
Who are the people who wash the feet the neediest in our day?