Tonight, on Holy Thursday, begins the Easter Triduum. This evening is called Maundy Thursday because it is when we recall Jesus washing the disciples’ feet and it is the Vigil of Good Friday (when we recall the Lord’s Passion).
The Holy Triduum is- to me -the most spiritually and emotionally moving three days of the year.
Our Bible readings recall Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.
WHY on earth would God stoop to wash the feet of a “wretch like me”? Because he loves. He loves ME. and all who follow Him. He calls us to serve others just as he did for his disciples.
So, in the Catholic church, and in many other Christian churches, we recall this humbling sign of love our God served us with.
In the evening, during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, usually after the Homily, Catholic priests all over the world, wash the feet of (usually) 12 parishioners (church members).
The people chosen can be anyone, but normally they try to pick those who represent the different parts of our community: teachers, healthcare workers, government officials, new members or those seeking full communion with the Catholic church (baptism or confirmation) etc.
This is a powerful thing to witness- watching our priest bent over, washing the feet of each person. Often I see him sweating as he takes care to wash and dry the feet of each member. I’ve never had my feet washed, but I’d assume it’s even more powerful to experience, watching a holier person than myself wash my sinning feet! Just imagine if we were Simon Peter!
"Master, are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus answered and said to him,
"What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
"Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me."
Simon Peter said to him,
"Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well."
Jesus said to him,
"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.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
What a beautiful way to enter into the Easter season!
I write of Holy Week hoping to remind us that Easter is not just another humdrum holiday.
Like, oh, I’m just going along, doing my egg-painting and candy-buying and OOP! It’s Easter! All of the sudden! And the next day we are throwing away our eggs and candy wrappers and carrying on like nothing happened but a lot of eating and egg-hunting.
No, that would be to cheapen what Easter is! Easter is much deeper than that!
Of course we celebrate with family and eat yummy food- we just spent 40 days in the desert! BUT…
Lent- the 40 days before this week are a time of preparation- of sacrifice, repentance, service and personal reflection. This week is the INTENSE and final preparation.
It, just like Christmas, is not just some day that passes by. It is a season!
If you didn’t know this, that’s okay- you know now! And we continue to celebrate Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ our King every day, in each Mass, with joy and faith in our hearts! Join and participate! HERE is another great resource if anyone is interested to know more.
The above link gives the Church’s Bible readings for tonight’s Mass.
Here is a piece from John 13:12-15
"So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”