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.” John 13:12-15
The above passage is taken from the Gospel that will be read at this evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Holy Thursday. We hear the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. Tonight’s ritual of the washing of the feet is about service through the washing with water and on Saturday it will be about birth to new life through fire and water. At the beginning of the Easter Vigil liturgy the priest lights and blesses the “new fire” outside the sanctuary. He then uses the blessed flame to kindle the Paschal Candle, a large candle which symbolizes the Risen Christ. Later on, the priest blesses the water of the baptismal font in preparation for the baptism of catechumens and dips the bottom part of the Candle into the font three times, invoking Jesus Christ to send the Holy Spirit upon the water. After this, he proceeds to baptize the catechumens. The following prayer is recited while the candle is dipped three times into the water.
We ask you,
with your Son
to send the Holy Spirit
upon the waters of this font.
May all who are buried with Christ
in the death of baptism
rise also with him to newness of life.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.