Holy Thursday – Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Jesus humbled himself by taking on the role of a servant at the Last Supper.  He washed the feet of the disciples.  This is what a servant would have done for guests in Jesus’ time.  This is what the priest does again in a public Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.  It demonstrates his role as servant.  The priest serves the people of God, who in turn sanctify the world.

That is the obvious meaning of this practice.

But, there is almost always something deeper to what Jesus does than what is obvious on the surface.

Peter says, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.” 

Jesus responds, “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.

Catholics have already bathed in the waters of Baptism.  So, why wash the feet?  This is what the priest does in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  He washes the feet of the penitent.  By giving absolution, he washes their sins away.  He washes the dirt that they have picked up on their feet.  He helps to keep those people that he serves reconciled to God.  He purifies his people.

Today, we are isolated in our homes.  We do not get to see the washing of the feet at Mass.  Think of it nonetheless.  Perhaps view a previous year’s Holy Thursday Mass online.  And, see the priest acting as Jesus did, in serving his people by washing them.  Symbolically purifying them before they go back out into the world.  And be grateful that Jesus has given us the priesthood to serve his people in the almost two millennia since the Last Supper.

Am I open to seeing how today’s priests continue to “act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (Catechism 1548)?”  Especially on this day that we celebrate the institution of the ministerial priesthood?

Do I recognize the need to continually be re-purified in order to better fulfill my own vocation?