Tonight we celebrate the last supper – the first Mass. We also see Jesus wash the feet of the disciples. In Judaism, the Kohen (a member of the priestly class) has his hands washed prior to performing the Priestly Prayer. Historically, this also included washing the feet, although today they often simply remove their shoes. It is one of the rare instances where foot washing is prescribed, following the command of Exodus 30:20-21 that the priestly class “shall wash their hands and their feet” prior to coming to the altar. The foot washing in John 13 is a prelude to Jesus’ own High Priestly Prayer in John 17. In performing the washing of the feet, Jesus is conferring priesthood on his apostles. It is a way of extending the authority of the Aaronic priesthood to the apostles.
This lent I decided to drink only water (except on Sunday’s) for the specific intention of praying for priests. I never realised how much they need our support, prayers and fasting as they strive everyday to wash our feet. I have also realised that my heart wants me to gladly carry on this fasting now, so i will be giving something small up from now on for priests, everyday for the rest of my life.
I would encourage all of you to try to give up one small thing per day from now on, and pray for holy priests to come and lead us now in this very exciting time in the history of our church.
St. John Vianney, patron saint of priests, pray for us.