Normally the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper would include washing of the feet. But these are not normal times and for obvious reasons the washing of the feet won't be happening this year. If you get the chance, join the Archbishop for Mass live streamed from the Cathedral this evening at 6pm on this link.
Hopefully, next year, folk will be getting their feet washed at the Holy Thursday evening Mass.
It's an imitation of what Christ did at the Last Supper - a sign of hospitality.
The ceremony of the washing of the feet is also very much a pointer to the eucharist. And we long for the day when our doors reopen and we can come together again and celebrate the Mass, the eucharist here in St Andrew's.
The journey of life, the way can at times be long and hard. We can get tired and worn out - it can at times be a struggle.
As each week of lock-down / self isolation goes on we might feel it becoming more and more difficult. We might find ourselves getting angry more easily - becoming more impatient. We might find ourselves getting tetchy. We might feel it becoming more of a struggle not being able to have the physical contact with our loved ones in other households, or maybe being in the presence of others for longer than usual is becoming that bit more trying.
The eucharist for us is a place where we can come as we are, with our dirty feet, so to speak, and be restored, refreshed, renewed - where we can meet Christ - encounter Him. Have that heart speaking to heart with Him.
But we don't have that luxury in these times, unfortunately.
In these limiting circumstances, instead, we can, in some way, encounter Christ from a live streamed Mass. We can make a spiritual communion at such a Mass (see the spiritual communion prayer at the end of this).
We can come to be restored and renewed and encounter Christ in moments of personal prayer. It's a delight to hear that one of the many silver linings in all of this is families making an effort to gather together in their own home for prayer.
One of the great prayers we have, which can help us to become so centered on Christ, which can help us to encounter Him, is the rosary. Again, it's a prayer which is great to pray together. There are so many different ways that people are finding to pray together in these times - it's great to hear the conference calls and the whattapps groups that are taking place for the Angelus and for the Rosary.
I do long for the day when we can all be together again to receive Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. I long for that day when we can unite in receiving Christ in Holy Communion and be refreshed by Him in body and soul for the journey that is still ahead.
All the best for the remainder of Holy Week, and I wish you a prayerful and fruitful Holy Thursday.
Act of Spiritual Communion
I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.