The simple meal that Jesus hosted with his disciples on the night before he died was packed with symbolism and meaning and divine love.
The passover meal had been part of Jewish religion and culture since the time of the Exodus, when God led his people out of Egypt some thirteen hundred years before Christ. It has been the model of the Christian Eucharist for the past 2,000 years.
Jesus’ ancestors, Mary and Joseph’s parents and grandparents, ate this meal every Sabbath during which, with all Jews, they thanked God for liberating their ancestors. Jesus probably raised a dozen or more eyebrows around the last supper table when he changed some words in the traditional prayer.
Instead of thanking God for their past, Jesus bade them share in his own self-sacrifice. Eating together pledged them to the same commitment and fate as Jesus himself.
About a week or so before the last supper, Jesus had asked his followers if they were prepared to drink the cup that he would drink. He was explaining what it meant to be a genuine disciple and have position in his kingdom. ‘Anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant’ Mk 10:43.
To celebrate the eucharist commits Jesus’ followers to a life of service. Discipleship means the sacrificing of one’s time and talent, like Jesus, so others might live. It’s about acting and advocating for an end to undue domination and oppression, injustice, and the deliberate exclusion of the weak and poor from life’s table on earth. In today’s world it could cost a disciple his or her life.
To receive Jesus in holy communion is to allow our minds and hearts to be transformed so that we become physical extensions of Christ in our world. The early Christian spiritual writers used to say that when we eat his body and drink his blood, we are transformed into that which we eat and drink.
Fr. QQ CORPUS CHRISTI 2018