SEMINARIANS REFLECT ON HOLY SEASON
The words of institution, “This is my body…” and “This is my blood…,” spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper are familiar to us Catholics from the thousands of times we have heard them at Mass. Their meaning became evident in the days after the first Holy Thursday as Jesus poured out his blood on the Cross and then rose from the dead. These words gain their full significance in light of the entire Paschal Mystery when the Son of God saved us from our sins and offered the chance of eternal life with him, but it was at the Last Supper that Jesus gave us the gift of the Eucharist.
Jesus’s words of institution contain an essential command — “Do this in memory of me.” We memorialize Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross every time we participate in Mass. This memorial is not only like the way we fondly recall memories with friends. Rather, Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection become truly present to us. Each time we participate in Mass, Jesus gifts us the opportunity to enter the same mystery that occurred 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem.
The extraordinary nature of this gift should stir us to wonder at God’s immense love for us. The knowledge that we actively participate in Christ’s Paschal Mystery also moves us to desire to enter into Mass as worthily as possible. For while God always pours out an abundance of his grace and love, we need to be properly disposed to receive his gifts. How is Lord calling me and you to open ourselves more completely to the gift of the Mass? Perhaps it is arriving early to spend a little time in prayer beforehand. Maybe it is returning to the sacrament of confession to heal our relationship with the Lord. However the Lord prompts us to greater receptivity of his love, the increased openness to grace will have manifold effects on our lives. Lord, thank you for the Eucharist, which you gave to us at the Last Supper. Please open our hearts to a greater understanding of that Mystery.
Adam is currently in Theology I at Kenrick School of Theology