In recounting the story of Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples, the first Christian generations were remembering their Teacher’s solemn wish. He expressed that wish when said, Do this in memory of me. That is how the evangelist Luke and Paul, the evangelizer of the Gentiles, record it. We Christians have celebrated the Lord’s Supper, from its inception, in order to remember Jesus, to make his presence alive in our midst, to nourish our faith in him, in his message and his life of commitment to us until death. In the current structure of the Mass, we recall four significant moments. We should live them both from within ourselves and in community.
Listening to the Gospel
We remember Jesus when we listen to the Gospel accounts of his life and his message. The Gospels have been written precisely to preserve Jesus’ memory and to nourish the disciples’ faith and their following of Jesus.
We do not learn doctrine from the Gospel account, but rather the way Jesus is and the way he acts. How he is and acts should serve as an inspiration and model for our life. That is why we must listen with the attitude of disciples. True disciples want to learn to think, feel, love and live as their Teacher did.
The memory of the Supper
We remember Jesus’ saving action by listening with faith to his words: “This is my body.” See me in these pieces of bread, handing myself over for you unto death. This is the cup of my blood. I have shed it for the forgiveness of your sins. In this way, you will remember me always. I have loved you to the end.
This is the moment to confess our faith in Jesus Christ and to summarize the mystery of our salvation, as we say, “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and we profess your resurrection, until you come again.” We feel that Christ our Lord has saved us.
The prayer of Jesus
Before receiving communion, we say the prayer that Jesus taught us. First, we identify, with the three great desires that were dear to his heart. These are: absolute respect for God, the coming of God’s kingdom of justice and the fulfilling of the Father’s will. Then, we identify with his four petitions to the Father: bread for everyone, forgiveness and mercy, overcoming temptation and liberation from all evil.
The communion with Jesus
We draw near as poor people, with our hands extended. We take the Bread of life. As we receive communion, we make an act of faith. We welcome Jesus into our hearts and into our lives in silence: “Lord, I want to be in communion with you, to follow your footsteps, to live breathing your life-breath, and to work with you in your project of making a more human world.”
May 29, 2016
Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (C)
1 Corinthians 11, 23-26