From Romans 10: 14-21, we hear the line: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Rom 10:16) What a strange way to describe feet, which we usually associate with smelliness or sweatiness.
The predominent question is ‘What can make feet beautiful?’ to which I would propose that it is not in the character of how they look, I mean have you seen well travelled feet before, they are … pretty chapped to say the least. No, what makes these feet beautiful is in the quality of the journey they undertook for their mission, of bringing the good news, the Gospel.
Quick sidenote, I was looking at the older English translation of the Bible, the Douay-Rheims translation, and they called the Gospels: The Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to Saint (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), which raises the all important point, The Gospel we proclaim is not our own. We are called to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19) which means that we need to live our lives in a way that proclaims the ‘Gospel of Jesus Christ according to us.’ This however does not come without conciderable stife and anguish, especially in our modern day, where we are faced with much more persecution than in the Christian based society of the past, but we expected that in the words of Christ, “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Mt 5:11-12) This is all cliche talk of joining our suffering to that of Christ on the cross, but there is a reason that the cliche exists. People, philosophers for two thousand years have had the time to think about all of this stuff, and this is the way they have come to describe it, that means something. We are challenged where we are weakest so that we will remember that God is our Lord and Saviour, the recognition of that fact, the sentiment of “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13) implies that ‘I can do nothing without him strengthening me’ because everything we are able to do is a gift from God, “All is grace” as St. Therese of Lisieux would say on her deathbed, commenting about her life, because as she looked back, she realized that God had a significant part to play in all of the major events of her life, and this holds true for ours as well.
So, we will go through these hardships in our life, it is inevitable, despite our culture’s insistance that it is possible to live a life without strife, and honestly, our weaknesses and sufferings are where we find ourselves growing the most, we get up and try again to take steps forwards towards our goal, which for us Christians is ultimately, heaven. Our cracked and dirty feet, our wrinkles and scars, our aches and pains, are badges of honour for us to bear, proof of our commitment to living life to the fullest, of our desire and subsequent action in giving of ourselves as Christ gave himself for us.
This pulls at the heart of why they are badges of honour, not because they show the effort we put in, but because, in giving of ourselves and understanding our weaknesses, so long as Christ is brought into those moments, they become transfigured into a channel of his grace into us, and subsequently into those around us. We become witnesses of the struggle and the great reward of the Christian life: Abounding Joy and Steadfast Peace.