For those who are not Catholic, it may be difficult to understand why the Catholic Church believes that Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday in the Protestant world) began the institution of the Priesthood of the New Covenant.
Today I heard something that gave an explanation I’ve never heard before.
We traditionally believe that Jesus washing the feet of the disciples was showing that they needed to be servants to his people as priests. But the explanation today made it much more clear.
You recall that Jesus removed his outer garment, and then donned a towel around his waist. He then proceeded to wash the feet of all the disciples. It was explained today that if you looked at Leviticus 16, it explains that the High Priest would go to the Holy of Holies and remove his outer garment and he completely bathed before he made the Sacrifice as priest, on behalf of the people.
The Elders of the church during the time of Aaron decided that complete bathing was not necessary anymore, and only washing of one’s hands and feet were necessary prior to a priest making the Holy Sacrifice.
Fast forward to the Last Supper and we see Jesus taking this mandate and instituting the Priesthood among his disciples, washing their feet so that they were able to be priests who would offer the sacrifice on our behalf. Did you catch that? He didn’t wash His own feet…He washed theirs. He was ordaining them as priests. Jesus instituted the Holy Mass and the First Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper. And then he proceeded to consecrate the disciples as priests who would carry on after he was gone.
Sunday Mass is called the Sacrifice of the Mass for a reason. Jesus commanded this New Covenant priesthood to do this in remembrance of Him. The Eucharist is transubstaniated by exact words of Christ, who made it clear that He was forever to be literally present in the elements for His people…this IS my Body…this IS my blood…the New Covenant. This is His Sacrifice.
The Mass and the Holy Eucharist that began on Holy Thursday is what the Catholic Church continues as Christ commanded, and through the Apostolic Succession of priests as Christ instituted them.
Thanks be to God.