Holy Thursday: A, B, and C-The Institution of the Holy Eucharist

Today’s celebration is about the Eucharist. Our Lord Jesus Christ within the context of the Passover meal with his Apostles instituted it as a memorial of his life, death and resurrection. In doing this, he asked them to continue to do so in his memory. As Jesus realized that the hour had come for his passage from this world back to the Father, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples to give them a concrete example of his Divine mission of love and service. He asked them to continue to do as he has done (see John 13:1-15). This is the last testament to his disciples. It symbolized what Jesus has done for us giving us his body and blood, soul and divinity in the appearances of bread and wine. It is for our salvation that Jesus Christ will be sacrificed on the cross of Calvary. His blood was shed to the last drop to wash away our sins, so that we can be brought back to God to become once more his friends. This is the self-giving act which Jesus symbolized by washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. This is the basis that believers will have a share with him in his Father’s house. 

Jesus instituted the Eucharist during the celebration, in which the Passover lamb was slain, to bring out the rich meaning of his divine mission, as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. In the Old Testament reading, the people of God were asked to sacrifice the Passover lamb, family by family. The blood was put on the lintel of their houses, they ate the meat with bitter herbs in haste. The sacrifice of that lamb brought about the destruction of the first-born of their enemies, while their own first-born were spared; it brought about their release from enslavement in Egypt, winning them their freedom. They were empowered to march on crossing the Red sea safely, while their pursuing enemies were drowned, God himself protecting them en-route to the promised-land. This helps us understand what the Eucharist does for us. Jesus is our Passover Lamb, slain to obtain our freedom from slavery to Satan, sin and death. When we partake of the Eucharist, the sacrament of the Body and Blood, Soul and divinity of Christ in the appearances of bread and wine, we are freed from all that enslaves us, we are equipped for the journey to the promised land of heaven, with God on our side. Jesus who we receive in his real and true presence, in the Eucharist becomes our viaticum. He goes with us and brings about for us a comfortable exodus through the challenges and trials of life to our heavenly inheritance.

This is a great treasure which has preserved the holy Church all through the ages for more than two thousand years. St. Paul tells us that it is what he received from the Lord and handed on to us. On the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus took bread, and after he had given thanks, broke it and said “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” After the meal he did the same with the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” By so doing, we proclaim the death of the Lord until comes. From this the holy Church sees the Eucharist as the sacrament that celebrates the last supper of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a celebration, a remembrance, it is a communion of the faithful, it is the re-enactment of the sacrifice of the cross on Calvary in an un-bloody way; it is the real and true presence in which Jesus is our viaticum journeying with us through our earthly pilgrimage. The Eucharist is the center and summit of the Church’s worship. In it, the holy church offers the right thanks and worship to God. This is what unites us as the one people of God. The basis of the church’s unity. Let us continue to nourish and nurture ourselves as a Eucharistic people and worthily receive Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist.   

O Sacred Banquet, in which Christ becomes our food. The memory of His Passion is celebrated. The soul is filled with grace and the pledge of future Glory is given to us.