Thursday, April 05, 2007

Institution of the Eucharist

Mass of the Lord's Supper tonight, 7:30 pm, SAA Church. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to follow after Mass and until midnight.
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Tonight we celebrate the night when Jesus instituted the sacraments of the Eucharist and Holy Orders. What a night! The following are excerpts from Pope Benedict XVI's beautiful apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist, "Sacramentum Caritatis" (Sacrament of Love). To read the full text, please click on the title of this post.


The new and eternal covenant in the blood of the Lamb
9. The mission for which Jesus came among us was accomplished in the Paschal Mystery. On the Cross from which he draws all people to himself (cf. Jn 12:32), just before "giving up the Spirit," he utters the words: "it is finished" (Jn 19:30). In the mystery of Christ's obedience unto death, even death on a Cross (cf. Phil 2:8), the new and eternal covenant was brought about. In his crucified flesh, God's freedom and our human freedom met definitively in an inviolable, eternally valid pact. Human sin was also redeemed once for all by God's Son (cf. Heb 7:27; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10). As I have said elsewhere, "Christ's death on the Cross is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up and save him. This is love in its most radical form." (18)

In the Paschal Mystery, our deliverance from evil and death has taken place. In instituting the Eucharist, Jesus had spoken of the "new and eternal covenant" in the shedding of his blood (cf. Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24; Lk 22:20). This, the ultimate purpose of his mission, was clear from the very beginning of his public life. Indeed, when, on the banks of the Jordan, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming towards him, he cried out: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29). It is significant that these same words are repeated at every celebration of Holy Mass, when the priest invites us to approach the altar: "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper." Jesus is the true paschal lamb who freely gave himself in sacrifice for us, and thus brought about the new and eternal covenant. The Eucharist contains this radical newness, which is offered to us again at every celebration. (19)


The institution of the Eucharist
10. This leads us to reflect on the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. It took place within a ritual meal commemorating the foundational event of the people of Israel: their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. This ritual meal, which called for the sacrifice of lambs (cf. Ex 12:1-28, 43-51), was a remembrance of the past, but at the same time a prophetic remembrance, the proclamation of a deliverance yet to come. The people had come to realize that their earlier liberation was not definitive, for their history continued to be marked by slavery and sin. The remembrance of their ancient liberation thus expanded to the invocation and expectation of a yet more profound, radical, universal and definitive salvation. This is the context in which Jesus introduces the newness of his gift. In the prayer of praise, the Berakah, he does not simply thank the Father for the great events of past history, but also for his own "exaltation."

In instituting the sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus anticipates and makes present the sacrifice of the Cross and the victory of the resurrection. At the same time, he reveals that he himself is the true sacrificial lamb, destined in the Father's plan from the foundation of the world, as we read in The First Letter of Peter (cf. 1:18-20). By placing his gift in this context, Jesus shows the salvific meaning of his death and resurrection, a mystery which renews history and the whole cosmos. The institution of the Eucharist demonstrates how Jesus' death, for all its violence and absurdity, became in him a supreme act of love and mankind's definitive deliverance from evil.

11... "The Eucharist draws us into Jesus' act of self-oblation. More than just statically receiving the incarnate Logos, we enter into the very dynamic of his self-giving." (21) Jesus "draws us into himself." (22) The substantial conversion of bread and wine into his body and blood introduces within creation the principle of a radical change, a sort of "nuclear fission," to use an image familiar to us today, which penetrates to the heart of all being, a change meant to set off a process which transforms reality, a process leading ultimately to the transfiguration of the entire world, to the point where God will be all in all (cf. 1 Cor 15:28).

15 Comments:

At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does the priest strip, and I think wash the altar on Holy Thursday. Also, isn't something different done with the Host tonight? It's been a while since I've attended services Holy Thursday and I'll be bringing a child who'll be sure to ask.

 
At 2:55 PM, Blogger Fr Greg said...

The altar is stripped tonight after Mass because the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is suspended until Easter. Good Friday is the only day during the year on which no Mass is said. Also, the altar represents Christ who was stripped of his garments during his Passion.

There will be a Eucharistic Procession tonight at the end of Mass. Normally, this is done with an exposed Host in a monstrance. Tonight, the Eucharist will be processed through the Church with a covered vessel called a luna. Then, it will be placed in a tabernacle (in the Gathering Space) for Adoration until midnight.

 
At 3:18 PM, Blogger fran said...

From the Pieta Prayer Book -

A Prayer for Priests

Keep them, I pray Thee, dearest Lord,
Keep them, for they are Thine -
Thy priests whose lives burn out before Thy consecrated shrine.
Keep them, for they are in the world,
Though from the world apart;
When earthly pleasures tempt, allure,-
Shelter them in Thy heart.
Keep them, and comfort them in hours
Of loneliness and pain,
When all their life of sacrifice
For souls seems but in vain.
Keep them, and O remember, Lord,
They have no one but Thee,
Yet they have only human hearts,
With human frailty.
Keep them as spotlees as the Host,
That daily they caress;
Their every thought and word and deed,
Deign, dearest Lord to bless.

 
At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fran said...
"Born for This" is a contemporary "re-enactment" of the Stations of the Cross, presented by the 7th and 8th grade classes. (possibly 6th grade too-)

If any of you have the oppotunity to see this tomorrow (the time is listed in last week's bulletin), it's worth the effort. I finally had an opportunity to see it this year and was moved with the our jr. high students' performances. Speaking as mother, it was powerful to connect with what would have been Mary's sorrow. It reminded me in a visceral way that Jesus was more the savior- he was a man, teacher, friend and a son.

 
At 7:09 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

At some point could you post something on the church's teaching regarding the Trinity. It was a discussion in one of Fr. Mike's classes, and I have a better understanding but still have a point of confusion. I understand that Catholics believe that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three divine persons who are one divine being (God). In school I remember being taught to pray to the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. The "in the Holy Spirit" part is something that causes me pause. I conceptually have a difficult time in understanding the Holy Spirit. I can understand the others, for those roles are familiar- Father and Son. It's something I often think about when making a sign of the cross.

 
At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear kat

i am putting this here in hopes you see it i dont have your email address anymore because it isnt on your blog and the email i was using isnt working anymore

i am sorry for the things i said to you in my emails i was wrong to say them i thought you were answering questions on here and saying stuff just to get people to like you and look up to you but for some reason tonight it dawned on me that you wernt trying to build yourself up by telling people about going to confession or returning to the church i dont know why

please forgive me i had no right to tell you to leave st andrews or to call you the names i did

 
At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kat-
No "ditch" to the apologizing blogger, but I am always say grateful that you say the things I'm not willing to. I'm not so naive to believe a "blog" can heal me, but in the various steps I take and info I get, especially you and Fran have been a big help. God Bless !

 
At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

Apologizing Anon;

I am sorry I am just getting to your note now, I have been running around and haven't been online all day. So I am just now seeing this.

Please know you are forgiven and that I have been holding you in my prayers since they (the emails)started. I hope you have a blessed Holy Week and a rich Easter season.

Peace of Christ, Kat

 
At 9:19 PM, Anonymous was wondering.... said...

Why do we use the host instead of real bread for the body of Christ?

 
At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

The host is unlevened bread, it is what was used at the last supper and during passover by the Jews. The modern hosts we use at mass are just a particular form of unlevened bread, the requirement is that they be unlevened bread made from wheat flour. Wonderbread won't do. Again it goes back to what our Lord used at the Last Supper and the idea of form and substance.

 
At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wonderbread won't do."

:0)

 
At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why, at some churches, does the host look different?

 
At 6:55 PM, Anonymous inquiring blogger said...

In what way do the hosts look different?

 
At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Kat said...

Some parishes actually bake their own hosts rather then buying them from one of the companies or convents that make them en masse.

 
At 10:20 AM, Anonymous talking to Kat said...

Kat,

That is so cool! Maybe our parish will do that too! I know of one parish that has different flavors every week. Now that is new and different.

What do you think?

 

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