Friday, April 14, 2017


The Pastor of the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Nashville,
Father Edward Steiner,
washes the feet of  adults who will enter the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil,
along with those of some of their teachers and sponsors,
during the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.
(Photo by Andy Youssi)
Last night, the evening of Holy Thursday, the Vigil of Good Friday, the Catholic Church throughout the world commemorated the Last Supper and inaugurated the great liturgy of the Paschal Triduum with the Mass of the Lord's Supper.

Christ's institution of the Eucharist, His institution of the priesthood and the commandment of brotherly love given by Christ after the washing of his Apostle's feet are all commemorated in a special way at this Mass. The priests also consecrate enough of the Blessed Sacrament to last through Good Friday as Good Friday is the only day of the year on which there are no Masses, meaning that the Eucharist is not consecrated at any of the liturgies that day. Some may also notice that the Holy Thursday Mass does not end and, in fact, marks the beginning of a three day (triduum) liturgical celebration.

"Holy Thursday"
By Rene De Cramer
One spectacle peculiar to this particular celebration is the washing of the feet of congregants by the priesthood. A sign of the priesthood's humble service to it's people and a perpetuation of the many beautifully paradoxical signs introduced by Christ.

The concept of the last being first and the first being last is a paradox that holds special significance for me and can be contemplated endlessly as a meditation on the Theophanies that proclaim God's presence, all of which are paradoxical.
-A bush burns, but is not consumed.
-God becomes man without ceasing to be God and without ceasing to be man.
-"Son of man" is a term for fallen and imperfect humanity, but when Christ becomes incarnate as the son of Mary, the Son of man becomes God in the flesh, and therefore perfect.
-Bread and Wine are made into true blood and true flesh, but retain the accidents of food and drink.
-The priests wash the feet of prisoners and the poor and the sick.
-The last will be first and the first will be last.

Paradox is the sign of God's presence.