On the evening before he was to die,
Jesus gathered with his Apostles in the large, upper room of a house in the
city of Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover meal. There, he said, "I have eagerly
desired to eat this Passover with you before I
suffer" (Luke 22:15). This particular celebration of the Passover meal will be
like no other; for, it is his "Last Supper". At this ritual meal Jesus, by his
sovereignauthority as Son of God, will
transform the Passover remembrance of the Exodus event of the Old Testament
into "The Lord's Supper": "See, I am doing something new!" (Is. 43:19) As Jesus
blesses ordinary bread and wine, he gives them "the eternal value of his
redemptive death" for the world thatwill occur on the following day ("Good Friday") (Dictionary of
Biblical Theology, p. 147). For now on, whenever the Eucharist is
celebrated, hidden within the food of bread and wine is the richness of his
sacrificial death as Victim for our sins. Do I have a deep, spiritual hunger
for a "hidden life" of prayer with the Victim Lamb?
The "eager desire" of Jesus expressed in this passage
refers to several realities: His insatiable longing to fulfill his
"Paschal purpose" in the world for the "life of the world". He will accomplish
this by the voluntary offering of his life in obedience to the Father. One
might say that hidden within every holy communion is the obedient, sacrificial,
Love of Jesus for the Father. Do I have such a driven hunger to please the
Father in everything? We also note the words, "with you". Jesus has a "Eucharistic
yearning": 1)to be with us; 2)to offer for us; 3)and to unite us to his
offering to the Father. In the Eucharist, we are joined with Jesus on
the altar of the cross, and are united to his intercession for the
salvation of the world. St. Paul reminds us:
"The cup of
blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of
Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body
(1 Co. 10:16)
word, participate, means 'to take part in; to share in'. Part of the greeting
prayer of Palm Sunday reads:
by his grace partakers of the cross, we may have a share also in
his Resurrection and in his life"
(Roman Missal, p. 132).
Lamb, the Bridegroom, desires to share his life and offering most intimately
with his Bride, the Church--to the extent that webecome one offering
with him--united with his perfect offeringto the Father!
As he blesses ordinary bread and wine, Jesus gives them new
meaning. He changes them; He proclaims:
"This is my
body, which will be given for you, do this in memory of me…And likewise
the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup is the New Covenant in my
blood, which will be shed for you"
need to hear these words, "for you", as spoken personally and intimately
to us by Jesus. Only by internalizing these words in the depths of our hearts
can we then in turn say to the world, "for you"--as a desire to pray and
offer our lives in union with the Lamb for the world.
This "true food"(The Eucharistic Body)
and "true drink"(The Eucharistic Blood) of the Eucharistic Body and Blood of
the True Lamb unite intercessors in an intimate communion with Jesus and should
awaken a fervent "Eucharistic appetite", and cultivate a rich "paschal
perspective" within one's heart:
my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him"
In this mutual indwelling Jesus unites us to
himself and to his offering for the "life of the world".
St. Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch
(bishop and martyr) is one of the great, passionate lovers of Jesus in the
early Church. St. Ignatius suffered martyrdom during the time of the Roman
persecutions.On his way to Rome to be
martyred, he wrote several letters to various Churches. In one letter he
writes: "My desire is to belong to God"; "Do not talk about Jesus Christ as
long as you love this world"; "There is no yearning in me for any earthly
thing"; "I no longer take pleasure in perishable food or in the delights of the
world"; "I want only God's bread, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, formed of
the seed of David, and for drink Icrave his blood, which is love
that cannot perish" (LH, vol. IV, p. 1491). Such a "voracious spiritual
thirst" can only come from a deep communion with the Lamb. Do I have such a
"paschal palate"? St. Ignatius believed that the immense, sacrificial Love of
Jesus endures forever. Ignatius had the heart of an intercessor. From his
fiery, intense union with Jesus, Ignatius "offered". He had truly become a
branch on the Vine, planted firmly in the love of Jesus (LH. Vol. III, p.
1074), and his death bore tremendous fruit for the Church.
Do I have a rich Eucharistic spirituality in my life?
What is my current perspective (image) of the world today?
scripture in the text; John 6:51B; John 6:53; John 6:55-56; John 6:57B; 1Co.
10:16-17; 1 Co. 11:23-25