J. Ratzinger – God is Near Us: p. 30
..."In the story of the washing of the feet...the whole of Jesus' message, his life, and his Passion are summed up. As if in a vision, we see what this whole really is...In the washing of the disciples feet is represented for us what Jesus does and what he is. He, who is Lord, comes down to us, he lays aside the garments of glory and becomes a slave, one who stands at the door and who does for us the slave's service of washing our feet. This is the meaning of his whole life and Passion: that he bends down to our dirty feet, to the dirt of humanity, and that in his greater love he washes us clean. The slave's service of washing the feet was performed in order to prepare a person suitable for sitting at table, to make him ready for company, so that all could sit down together for a meal. Jesus Christ prepares us, as it were, for God's presence and for each other's company, so that we can sit down together at table. We, who repeatedly find we cannot stand one another, who are quite unfit to be with God, are welcomed and accepted by him. He clothes himself, so to speak in the garment of our poverty, and in being taken up by him, we are able to be with God, we have gained access to God. We are washed through our willingness to yield to his love. The meaning of this love is that God accepts us without preconditions, even if we are unworthy of his love, incapable of relating to him, because he, Jesus Christ, transforms us and becomes a brother to us."
Pope Benedict continues with describing how Judas' pride prevented him from being cleansed and purified, and he describes St. Peter's false modesty and humility.
He continues: ..."But God does not wish for false modesty that refuses his kindness; rather, he desires that humility which allows itself to be cleansed and thus becomes pure. This is the manner in which he gives himself to us."