With the readings providing us with no fresh thoughts, let’s turn to a question about the Catholic Mass: How did all its prayers come about?
We know that at the Last Supper, after Jesus had said the blessing he took up the bread, and next the chalice, saying, “This is my body,” and “This is the cup of my blood;” then he said, “Do this in memory of me.”
Those were meager instructions. How did the Apostles develop them into the full ritual of the Mass?
The answer to that is in words from the Last Supper that we just slip over. Namely, the words “After Jesus had said the blessing.”
That was not just three or four little blessing words. In the Gospel accounts and in St. Paul’s account of the Last Supper the word they used for “Blessing” was eucharistesas. That was their Greek word for what in Hebrew they called the Brakha.
The Brakha was a setl ritual that had three parts. It began with a Calling to Mind part when the host asked the diners to call to mind God’s blessings. That was followed by the Calling Down part when the host begged God to send down his Spirit on the diners. It concluded with the Pleasing Gift part. in it all present strove to make themselves into pleasing gifts to God. Their word for Pleasing Gift was Eu-charis.
In the Mass the Eucharist is not only Jesus. It is also all us diners. United with Jesus we strive to turn ourselves into Pleasing Gifts to God.