Jesus sets the example for humble service by washing the feet of the Apostles. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Observance so he can honor and respect the priesthood and priests and by growing in the Virtue of Humility so he can battle against pride and better imitate Christ.
Holy Week – Thursday – Lord’s Supper – Jn 13:1-15
After the Apostles prepare for the Passover feast in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, Jesus gathers the Twelve after the sun sets for the celebration of Passover. Commanded by God (Ex 12), Jews annually remembered God’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt by eating a ritual meal (Seder) which recalled the Night of the Passover: prayers were said, four cups of wine were ritually drank and a lamb, earlier sacrificed at the Temple, was eaten along with bitter herbs. But rather than simply “keeping” the Passover, Jesus divinely transforms it, establishing the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
Having all power from God the Father, Jesus divinely transforms the Seder through the institution of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the transubstantiation of bread and wine into His Body and Blood (Mt 26:26-29). Prior to establishing the Eucharist, Jesus also institutes the Sacrament of Holy Orders, ordaining the 12 Apostles into His Holy Catholic Priesthood so they can offer the Eucharist. Jesus’ ritualistic washing of the Apostles’ feet is more than an example of humble love (“afterward, you will understand”), it confirms the 12 Apostles have the power of the priesthood: Jesus’ act recalls Moses’ washing of the feet of Aaron and his sons when they are first consecrated priests (Lev 8:6); the Levites (priestly class) receiving their “part”from God (Num 18:20); the Apostles receive their “part” from Jesus (Jn 13:8), confirming their priesthood.
Jesus’ washing of the Apostles’ feet is also a supreme example of humility and love. Jesus calls all men to follow His example of being a humble slave who loves others through self-sacrifice and service; His example is particularly critical for priests, as He has specifically limited the foot washing to the Twelve. While Jesus does wash Judas’ feet and allows him to receive the Eucharist (Lk 22:21), Jesus confirms His blessings will not be given to Judas (Jn 13:18).
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at how Jesus establishes the priesthood: Son of God, Jesus establishes rituals for the consecration of priests in the Old Testament; Divine Priest, Jesus takes symbolic priestly actions throughout His public ministry; He Humbles Himself to wash the feet of the Apostles to initiate them into the Catholic Priesthood; risen Lord, He guides His Holy Catholic Church to formalize and perpetuate the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
Honor and respect the priesthood and priests
Realize: Jesus’ initiation of the Apostles into a new priesthood establishes the means for His Eucharist to be made available to men in the Age of His Holy Catholic Church.
Believe: Reflect upon the establishment of the Eucharist and the Priesthood (CCC 1406-1419).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Observance (a part of Justice) so I am grateful for the great sacrifice of those who are received into the priesthood and always honor, respect and support Your holy Catholic priests.
Reject pride and embrace Humility
Realize: Today’s diseased culture embraces the deadly vice of pride: seeking attention and fame on social media; men who strut, boast and trash-talk; the outright celebration of “pride” as some kind of perverse virtue. In stark contrast, Jesus, the Son of God, sears His demand for every Catholic man to have deep humility as He washes the Apostles’ feet.
Believe: Recommit to Imitate Christ (CCC 520, 1693-1696).
Pray: Jesus, Humble King, help me build the Virtue of Humility (a part of Temperance) so I continually recall my spiritual poverty, seek to be a man of deep humility before others, and completely submit to the Will of God in all things.