Body and Blood of Christ
Exodus 24:3-8 II:
Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover
lamb, his disciples said to him, "Where will you have us go and prepare for you
to eat the passover?"
13 And he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, "Go into the city, and a
man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him,
14 and wherever he enters, say to the householder, 'The Teacher says, Where is
my guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?'
15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare
16 And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as he had told
them; and they prepared the passover.
22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave
it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body."
23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they
all drank of it.
24 and he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out
25 Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until
that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
- (v.12) The Last Supper is identified as a Passover meal. Many Jewish prophets
tie their teachings to dramatic actions, so that the teachings are more likely
to be remembered. Jesus did the same thing here, giving new meaning to the
history of Israel. The Passover meal celebrates Israel's
liberation from slavery in Egypt.
- (v.22) Jesus "took bread," "blessed," "broke," and "gave." These are the same words
used in both feeding stories (Mk 6:41,8:6). Then the disciples "did not
understand about the loaves"(8:17). Now, at the Last Supper, the mystery was
revealed: after his death, Christ would be the "one loaf" that
will feed the multitude. This was alluded to also in the
Lord's Prayer "give us this day our daily bread."
- (v.23) In the course of a Passover meal, 4 cups of wine were drunk, to remind
the participants of the 4 promises of God in Exodus 6:6-7
- 1st cup: "I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians"
- 2nd cup:"I will rid you of their bondage"
- 3rd cup:"I will redeem you with outstretched arm"
- 4th cup:"I will take you to me for a people, and I will be your God"
The cup in v.23 was the 3rd cup, taken after given thanks.
- (v.24) The word "covenant" is used often in the Jewish religion. It means a
contract, a relationship. In Exodus 24:3-8, God entered into a relationship
with Israel. If the people keep God's law, then Israel "would be a kingdom of
priests"(Ex 19:6), mediator between God and all nations. If the law is broken,
then the contract is broken. It was a relationship dependent on obedience of
Jesus said "This is the blood of the (new) covenant." It is not dependent on
obedience of the law, but on Jesus dying for us. That is, the new relationship
between God and man is dependent only on Jesus' love. This is echoed in the
promise in Ex. 6, "I will redeem you with outstretched arm."
Blood is used in antiquity to seal a contract. Moses sealed the first covenant
with the blood of sacrificial animals. God now seals the new covenant with the
blood of Christ! "poured out for many" alludes to the Suffering Servant
passage in Is.53:12,
adding a sacrificial tone to this action of shedding blood. The phrase "for
many" is from Hebrew, which means for all, not just for one or a few.
- (v.25) Jesus' 4th cup will be drunk after the redemption is completed.
The Eucharistic meal is not just the Last Supper but also connects to the
glorious banquet in heaven. This is hope for all who share at his table.
One Main Point
Jesus let the disciples participate in the preparation of his passover meal.
Likewise, by giving us the gift of his Body, he has given us the food that we
need to participate in his salvation plan.
- What is my usual attitude when I receive communion at Mass? Let the next
time be a real encounter: as I receive his Body, may I grow in oneness of
mind with my Lord and his words.
- When I take the Lord's Body and his Blood, I take in his spirit, his
mission--all of him. As I am part of his body, everyone else is. Do I accept
others as my brothers and sisters? Who are the people that I cannot accept
as my spiritual family? I ask Jesus to help me see them in a new light.
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community