To offer spiritual sacrifices (1 Pt 2, 5)
The supper Jesus has eagerly desired to eat with his own before his passion is a pledge of fellowship there where Master and disciples will share the fresh bread and the new wine of the fully established kingdom.
At the last supper, Jesus shows—in so shocking a manner that Peter refuses to participate—his love and service to the end. He also announces Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial. He makes it clear that the time has come for him to pass from the world to the Father.
The atmosphere cannot but be somber and disturbing. Hence, Jesus tells his followers, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Later on he will reassure them with his gift of peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”
It distresses us to notice that religion, as we have known it, is disappearing, along with the culture characterized as Christian. Sometimes those of us who live in a pluralist society feel we are being so attacked by secular elements that are bent on curtailing our religious freedom that we end up trivializing, without being aware of it, the suffering of those who are really persecuted in many parts of the world. Not satisfied with a self-defensive stance, we even become culture warriors who are ready to launch a counterattack.
But we are commanded to put the sword into its scabbard. Also, the beatitudes affords as guaranteed protection only extreme poverty, which means absolute faith and complete trust in the Father and his means. And since the Father, whom no one has ever seen, is in the only Son, we have to believe and trust also in Jesus. He assures us that he is the way, the truth and the life, and that whoever sees him, sees the Father.
So then, the only thing we have to do lest we stray from the way of truth and life is to take Jesus’ path of self-sacrificing service. To be assured of the vision of God, it is enough for us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. In this way also, we who are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own,” give God the pure worship, consisting in attending to the needy, without any discrimination, and in not accommodating worldly securities.
Indeed, one devoted to the Word, announcing saving deeds, wondrous and attributable to the Lord alone, and remembering them, does everything possible so that harmony may reign and no poor person may be neglected and lose faith and trust in Jesus. The true disciple—St. Vincent de Paul was one—knows Jesus so much by faith that he knows “to leave God for God” and perform enlightening deeds.