Today we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Let me point out something in St. Paul’s account of the Last Supper, which is the same as the account of the Last Supper in the Gospels. What I want to point out is that all accounts tell us that Jesus took up the bread and wine “giving thanks.” Now, that giving thanks was not just a polite “Thank you” to God.
The way Paul, Luke, and Mark wrote it, Jesus took up the bread as he was saying the last part of his table blessing. In the first part of that blessing he had called to mind God’s many favors. In the second part of the blessing he called down God’s Spirit to unite the diners and to empower them to speak to God. In this third part of the blessing, which our missals translate as “giving thanks,” Jesus was making a pleasing gift of himself to God.
When he went on then to change the bread and wine into his body and blood, and then to give it to the Apostles, he was inviting them to become one with him in his offering himself to God as a pleasing gift. The Greek word for “pleasing gift” is Eu-charis.
Remember how Jesus said, “I did not come to be served.” He does not come to be adored. He comes to earnestly invite us to become part of the pleasing gift, part of the Eucharist he makes of himself in the Mass.
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