WHY DO PRIESTS WASH THEIR HANDS IN THE MASS?
A well crafted response from Daily Catechism+
Priests washing their hands in the mass before consecration has both Practical & Theological Senses.
▪️The Practical Sense
💦In the early days of the Church, the offerings the faithful brought to the altar likely included things such as vegetables, fruits and perhaps a sheep or two.
After handling the various offerings, washing hands was necessary for the priest whose hands would, in due course, touch the Body of Christ.
💦Moving from the above notion of the early Church, currently, this short ritual can be viewed from the perspective of hygiene, since the priest in the mass may come into contact with many things through the sense of touch.
▪️The Theological Sense
💦First, the washing of his hands reminds the priest of his baptism.
💦Again, From the General Instruction of the Roman Missal:
Then the priest, standing at the side of the altar, washes his hands, saying quietly:
Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
Then it means the priest washing his hands at the side of the altar is a rite in which the desire for interior purification finds expression (no. 78).
Thus the priest washes his hands as a sign of his spiritual cleansing and preparation to wash away his impurities before handling the consecrated Eucharist which is holy and sacred.
💦 Lastly, on the Theological sense, It Signifies an act of humility and acknowledgement of the extreme sanctity and respect which should be afforded to God who humbles Himself so much as to become our spiritual food.
Credit: Daily Catechism+