Body of Christ: Promise

The Promise. Jesus’ words of promise were confirmed with a solemn oath that he would not share the festal cup until the meal was resumed and completed in the consummation. The sober reference “no more” indicates that this is Jesus’ final meal and lends to the situation the character of a farewell. The purpose of his vow of abstinence was to declare that his decision to submit to the will of God in vicarious suffering was irrevocable. Forswearing feasting and wine, Jesus dedicated himself with a resolute will to accept the bitter cup of wrath offered to him by the Father. Yet there is here a clear anticipation of the messianic banquet when the Passover fellowship with his followers will be renewed in the Kingdom of God. Then Jesus will drink the wine “new,” where in this context newness is the mark of the redeemed world and the time of ultimate redemption. The reference to “that day” envisions the parousia and the triumph of the Son of Man (see above on Ch. 13:24–27, 32; cf. 1 Cor. 11:26). Thus, in the context of reflecting upon his violent death on behalf of the many, and just prior to the impending events of the passion, Jesus clearly affirmed his vindication and the establishment of an uninterrupted fellowship between the redeemed community and its Redeemer through the experience of messianic salvation. Continue reading

Body of Christ: Last Supper

The Last Supper. In the verses which follow v.17, Mark concentrates all of his attention upon two incidents which marked the meal: the moment of the dipping of the bread and the bitter herbs in the bowl of stewed fruit when Jesus spoke of his betrayal (verses 18–21), and the interpretation of the bread and the third cup of wine following the meal itself (verses 22–25). Continue reading

Body of Christ: Passover

One of the reasons to “study” Scripture is to realize the gospels are not newspaper reports, historic documentation (although it sometimes does just that), or even eye-witness accounts.  Most often the gospels are the writing down, under divine inspiration, the oral accounts of the early Christian community about Jesus the Christ. This is worth noting because, when asked about the Last Supper, most Christians will reply that it was the traditional Passover meal.  But when asked, “Well, where does it say that in Scripture” many are less clear. Continue reading

Body of Christ: context

The story of the “Last Supper” is an account quite familiar to Christians. The version in the Gospel according to Mark certainly recounts many of the familiar features. Too often, Catholic move quickly through the text seeing the institution of the Eucharist – and within the Tradition and Teaching of the church, while they are on solid ground, one wonders if the they adequately understand the deeper currents present in the gospel account. Continue reading

The Lord’s Supper

22 While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. 25 Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26 Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

The actions and words of Jesus are expressed within the framework of the Passover meal but also point to and indicate a transition to a new covenant that is sealed in the shedding of blood – as are all covenants (cf. Ex 24:1-8; Heb 9:19-21; 10:9-30). But as Jesus has been predicting, he will be the sacrificial offering and it will be his blood that will be shed as part of his passion and death. There are strong allusion to the rite described in Exodus 24:4-8 and thus indicates the new community that the sacrifice of Jesus will bring into being (Matthew 26:26–28; Luke 22:19–20; 1 Cor 11:23–25). Continue reading

Palm Sunday of the Passion: a last meal

Altar-1The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is quite lengthy and so will not be included here. It can be found at the USCCB website:

Jesus Inaugurates the Eucharist (26:26-30a) As Joachim Jeremias and other scholars have shown in looking at all the received Eucharistic traditions (Paul in 1 Corinthians and the synoptic gospel writers), Jesus follows the form and outline of the Passover Seder. The thanksgiving over the bread and the cup recorded in vv. 26 and 27 will therefore be a regular part of the main section of the Passover meal (making this the third of the four cups of the Passover), and we may reasonably assume that Jesus used the traditional words of thanksgiving. But it worthwhile to point out that said the blessing refers to blessing God, not blessing the bread. Continue reading

The Gospel of Luke – The Passover Meal

Introduction to The Lucan Passion Narrative: The passion narratives provide the climax for each of the four gospels, catching up themes that weave their way through the evangelists’ entire portrayal of Jesus life and bringing them to a dramatic completion. In deft strokes the evangelists tell us of the final hours of Jesus’ life – his last meal with his disciples; his arrest in Gethsemane; his interrogation by the religious leaders; the trial before Pilate; and finally the heart clutching scenes of Jesus’ crucifixion, death and burial. Continue reading

Passion Sunday: A last meal

Altar-1The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is quite lengthy and so will not be included here. It can be found at the USCCB website:

Jesus Inaugurates the Eucharist (26:26-30a) As Joachim Jeremias and other scholars have shown in looking at all the received Eucharistic traditions (Paul in 1 Corinthians and the synoptic gospel writers), Jesus follows the form and outline of the Passover Seder. The thanksgiving over the bread and the cup recorded in vv. 26 and 27 will therefore be a regular part of the main section of the Passover meal (making this the third of the four cups of the Passover), and we may reasonably assume that Jesus used the traditional words of thanksgiving. But it worthwhile to point out that said the blessing refers to blessing God, not blessing the bread. Continue reading