The opening words of today’s Gospel are, “Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled.”
At Mass, you and I should imagine ourselves as being among the disciples reclining there with Jesus. We should imagine ourselves listening to Jesus offering the table prayer that was mandatory for the Paschal Feast. That prayer, known as the Brakha, had three parts. It had Jesus first asking us to recall God’s many favors. Next, it had him begging God to fill us with his holy Spirit. Then, finally, as he made himself into a pleasing gift of to God, it had him urging us to join him as part of that pleasing gift. In Greek that pleasing gift was called the Eu-charis.
To participate fully in the Mass we must imagine ourselves as belonging to the number of those reclining at table. We join Jesus in recalling God’s immense favors to us. We ask God to fill us with his holy Spirit. Finally, we become part of the Eucharist, part of the pleasing gift, which Jesus offers to the Father.