Why do we wash feet on Holy Thursday?
On the night before Jesus died on the cross, he shared one last meal with his 12 apostles. At this Last Supper, Jesus instituted two sacraments so that he could remain with his disciples for all ages. He took bread and wine and transformed them into his body and blood, establishing the sacrament of the Eucharist. Immediately afterward, he gave his apostles authority to perform this sacrament by saying, “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19). In John 13, however, we are told of another important event that occurred during this meal: the washing of the apostles’ feet. In the ancient world, feet were commonly very dirty due to much traveling by foot on unpaved roads while wearing sandals. Homeowners would typically have their servants wash the feet of their guests as a measure of hospitality. Jesus, however, took the place of a servant at the Last Supper, teaching his apostles that the authority of the priesthood is not about power over others, but about being a servant to all. After the homily at the Holy Thursday Mass, the priest will wash the feet of 12 members of the congregation as a reminder of the great value in humble service, not only in the priesthood, but in the lives of all Christians. This night is only the beginning of the Easter Triduum, which enters into the story of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday. This is the “Catholic Super-bowl” – a must see. What if Easter was more than colored eggs this year? What if we all truly entered into the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection? I invite each of you to consider joining us for the Holy Thursday Mass at 7pm on April 18.