On the first of the Days of Unleavened Bread, the day they prepare the Passover sacrifice, his disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations so you can eat the Passover meal?”
He directed two of his disciples, “Go into the city. A man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him. Ask the owner of whichever house he enters, ‘The Teacher wants to know, Where is my guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will show you a spacious second-story room, swept and ready. Prepare for us there.”
The disciples left, came to the city, found everything just as he had told them, and prepared the Passover meal.
In the course of their meal, having taken and blessed the bread, he broke it and gave it to them. Then he said,
Take, this is my body.
Taking the chalice, he gave it to them, thanking God, and they all drank from it. He said,
This is my blood,
God’s new covenant,
Poured out for many people.
“I’ll not be drinking wine again until the new day when I drink it in the kingdom of God.”
They sang a hymn and then went directly to Mount Olives.
Lord Jesus Christ,we thank you that in this wonderful sacrament you have given us the memorial of your passion: grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries of your body and blood that we may know within ourselves and show forth in our lives the fruits of your redemption; for you are alive and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
In the Gospel of Mark, the Las Supper is placed within the context of central and most important Jewish feast, Passover. The chosen people of Israel were slaves in Egypt and were led by the reluctant prophet, Moses into a life of freedom. That freedom came at a cost after much wandering, suffering, arguments and pain, with Moses unable to "Passover" to that new land of freedom himself. That first Passover Meal was for a people in a hurry, for people about to embark on this journey into the unknown-they could not even wait for the bread to rise so they had to eat it unleavened. Jesus, at the Last Supper, takes this bread of life and cup of blessing and transforms them further: the apostles were invited to share the very life of their Lord and do their best not only to "talk the talk", but, more importantly, "walk the walk.". As Christians today we join with countless fellow pilgrims through history who take this body and drink this blood. On this wonderful feast of Corpus Christi let us remember that the risen Lord offers us food and drink for our journey through life; this bread of life and cup of blessing will sustain us, especially through those rough patches that we all experience. This week our journey might be like that of Moses of old or even a call to share the way of the cross with Jesus; through this wonderful gift of Corpus Christi may we all move forward together.
Gerry O'Shaughnessy - Salesian Priest