Rev. Tom Mull

My first assignment as a priest was at St. Mary’s in Canandaigua, NY with Father Tom Mull.  I went there in June 2003.  I hardly knew anything about priesthood, St. Mary’s/Canandaigua, or Father Mull.  As I entered into life as an ordained minister, I was welcomed very warmly and genuinely by Father Mull and the community.
    By the time I met him, Tom Mull had been ordained over 25 years.  He had worked with the bishop and at the cathedral for many years, as well as other parishes in the Rochester diocese.  He had a wealth of experience and service under his belt.  He is a man who really put flesh to the washing of the feet for me.
    Today is Holy Thursday.  The day when we hear the reading of the Washing of the Feet from John’s gospel.  This is one of my favorite readings.  I am drawn into its intimacy and its deep spirit and love.  Jesus serves his disciples by washing their feet, an act of vulnerability and profound intimacy.  A gesture that turned leadership on its head and showed the world what true leaders really do.  They wash feet.  They serve.
    “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do (John 13:15).”  What has he done for us to follow?  If we take Jesus literally, then we should all be washing each other’s feet.  But, that’s not happening.  So, what did he mean?
    I believe he was saying, “Serve one another from a place of gratitude.  I am thankful for so much.  But most of all, I am thankful to God who resides within me and around me.  I am thankful to God who calls me and sustains me.  And from the gratitude wells up the desire to share that gratitude with others through service.  I am grateful for my life and my God, and through that, my connection to the world.  Gratitude allows me to see God in the world and to serve God in ways that bring life, healing, love, and more gratitude.”
    Tom Mull was, and still is, a man who put flesh to the feet washing for me.  He anointed and washed my feet, and the feet of many people in this world.  And I believe his service comes from the same place as Jesus.  Gratitude.  He is a man who deeply embeds gratitude in his soul, and lives out of that gratitude every day of his life.  Tom Mull inspires me to be a man of gratitude and service.
    What might our lives look like if we started each day with gratitude to the One who gives us life, and sustains us?  If, as we go throughout our day, we see the One who we are grateful for, and we respond in gratitude and love?  As we look in the mirror, might we see the One dwelling in us as well?  Might we put on the towel of service?
    Jesus.  Tom Mull.  They didn’t see arches and toes and insteps.  They saw flesh and blood permeated with the very presence of God, the One for whom they are grateful.  And as a result, they rise, put on their towels, pour water into the basin, and begin to serve the world.  One foot at a time.  Thank you, Father Tom Mull, for showing me how to wash the feet of the world.

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