On Holy Thursday the first day of the Easter Triduum you might think that in the Catholic church the primary Gospel reading might concerning the Holy Eucharist even that this this is the day in which the Eucharist was inaugurated.
You would be wrong:
This is the Gospel reading on Holy Thursday every year taken directly from the site of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
So when he had washed their feetJohn 13 1-15
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
Notice that the focus of this entire gospel is the idea that it is the job of the disciples to serve. They are the princes of the church but their primary duty is to serve the people who they shall bring to the fold.
One may debate how successful they and their successors have been in this regard but there is no question that the primary job of the clergy from your local parish priest to the Bishop to the Cardinals and to the Holy Father is to be of service to the people to guide them to that narrow path of salvation.
In government this is much the same, particularly in a republic there is the idea that those in office are there to serve the people and not only those but them who are working in government bureaucracy. It is no accident that such people are called “Civil Servants”.
This is one of the reason why Donald Trump was such an effective president because the office actually cost him lots in terms of money and reputation yet the people did better socially and economically under him. As the book of Proverbs says:
By justice a king gives stability to the land; but he who imposes heavy taxes ruins it.Proverbs 29:4
It’s is also why the deep state of the Bureaucracy and those who seek wealth power and prestige from office opposed him so. We have an administration that seems more concerned with the interested than with even the real people who voted for him or the state of the cities where Biden voters live. And you know what Proverbs talks about that too:
When the wicked prevail, crime increases; but their downfall the just will behold.Proverbs 29:16
And that’s not even discussing the revolving door of wealth whose return is the main reason why the deep state wanted Trump out.
If one wants to get the idea of how this revolving door works I can’t think of a better example than this exchange from the Christmas Special of Yes Minister which became the pilot for the series “Yes Prime Minister” where the power Cabinet secretary Sir Arnold is talking to Sir Humphrey in a private meeting noting that he has decided to retire and is now considering who will be his successor:
Sir Arnold: You see, in this job, the problem isn’t really finding the answers it’s finding the questions. We need the man who can find the key question.
Sir Humphrey: By the way, Arnold, to change the subject completely, what will you be doing when you retire?
Sir Arnold: Ah, very good question! Very good question.
Sir Humphrey: It’s just that there might be jobs you could pick up, Er, ways you could serve the country, which your successor whoever he might be could put your way, er, persuade you to undertake!
Sir Arnold: Well I had been giving it some thought. Well as you know I’ll be chairman of the Banque Occidentale and there’ll be directorships of IBM and BP and that sort of thing. But I was thinking…
Sir Humphrey: Yes?
Sir Arnold: Well the Chairmanship of the Opera House trust will be coming up next year
Sir Humphrey: Chairman of Covent Garden…
Sir Arnold: And the chancellorship of Oxford.
Sir Humphrey: um hm
Sir Arnold: And then the deputy chairmanship of the Bank of England would be a…
Sir Humphrey: …A challenge?
Sir Arnold: A challenge, exactly. And head of the Security Commission. And the presidency of The Anglo-Caribbean Association would give one…
Sir Humphrey: …a chance to be of service.
Sir Arnold: Precisely! Especially during the winter months.
Sir Humphrey: Well I’m sure that any successor worth his salt could arrange these Arnold.
Sir Arnold: You think so? That’s very reassuring, very reassuring.
As you might guess Sir Humphrey gets the job. Later on in the show the sitting Prime minister also announces his retirement and at lunch Sir Arnold and Sir Humphrey are having lunch and the subject comes up that the two candidates within the party are both problematic as they might interfere by actually wanting to run the government:
Sir Arnold: So, will the new PM be our eminent Chancellor or our distinguished Foreign Secretary?
Sir Humphrey: Well, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. Which do you think it should be?
Sir Arnold: Difficult. Like asking which lunatic should run the asylum.
Sir Humphrey: The Trouble is, they’re both interventionists they both have foolish notions of running the county themselves if they became Prime Minister.
Sir Arnold: Have we any allies?
Sir Humphrey: Quite a few, the Chief Whip particularly. And He’s worried that who gets the job will antagonize the other’s supporters and split the party.
Sir Arnold: So we’re looking for a compromise candidate.
Sir Humphrey: Hmm. Malleable.
Sir Arnold: Flexible.
Sir Humphrey: Likeable.
Sir Arnold: No firm opinions.
Sir Humphrey: No bright ideas.
Sir Arnold: Not intellectually committed.
Sir Humphrey: Without the strength of purpose to change anything.
Sir Arnold: Someone who can be manipulated, professionally guided.
Sir Humphrey: And leave the business of government in the hands of the experts.
At the end of that exchange they look at each other both thinking of the main character of the series: (Jim Hacker the minister of the department of administrative affairs and laugh uncontrollably) before deciding that’s it’s possible.
As I’ve given up Youtube for Lent I can’t imbed the video but I challenge you to find that scene online, watch it and not immediately seeing them thinking of Joe Biden as their man for the White House at that moment.