God's beloved Son offers His very being in the Eucharist
Reflections on the readings for Holy Thursday (April 9, 2020): EX 12:1-8,11-14; PS 116:12-13,15-16,17-18; 1 COR 11:23-26; JN 13:1-15
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
On this evening of Holy Thursday, we gather to remember all that happened when Jesus joined with His Apostles for what would be their Last Supper together.
It was a holy day for the Jewish people, the feast of the Passover. However, it would become something much more for the followers of Christ. It was on this day that our Lord gave us the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. That word comes from the Greek for thanksgiving. It is a beautiful and fitting word for the immense mystery of the Son of God offering His body, blood, soul, and divinity as a sacrifice for our everlasting welfare. “(Jesus) took bread, and, after He had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is My body that is for you.… Also the cup,… saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this…in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
In recognizing that singular event two thousand years ago, we also embrace this gift for ourselves. Every time the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered, we participate in the same meal of Christ’s body and blood transubstantiated at the consecration. The Apostles were given authority as priests in the name of Jesus our High Priest and the power of sharing this sacrament. So too the Church’s priests today have that power handed down to them so each generation may consume the Eucharist. Moreover, those last words that we hear this evening from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians remind us that our Savior will come again. Indeed, we repeat that thought each time we acclaim after the consecration, “When we eat this Bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until You come again.” Past, present, and future are tied together, just as our Lord’s divinity and humanity is bonded forever. The Second Person of the Holy Trinity became one of us in order to sacrifice Himself for our salvation. The incomparable gift of the Eucharist reveals that God spares nothing to show love for His children and to assure our everlasting life with Him.