That wonderful first reading from Isaiah, Chapter 58 needs no explanation. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to say a few words about how attending Mass can do more for us if we see ourselves as taking part in the Last Supper.
St. Paul, in Chapter 11 of his First Letter to the Corinthians gave us an account of what happened at the Last Supper; and although he wasn’t there then, he tells us that Jesus himself told him just what happened.
St. Luke, who was Paul’s disciple, describes the Lass Supper in the same words Paul used. Both of them penned their accounts in the Greek language. They both wrote that Jesus took up the bread after the eucharistesas. Oddly, though, our English of what Paul wrote translate eucharistesas as “haven given thanks;” while our English of what Luke wrote translates eucharistesas as “said the blessing.”
If they translated eucharistesas literally, they both would have written that he took up the bread after “the pleasing gift.” Taking the word apart, eu means “pleasing,” charis means “gift,” and tesas means “after.”
Even though Jesus used his own words for the blessing at the Last Supper, he followed the traditional Jewish formula for it. For the first part he asked everyone to call to mind God’s favors. For the second part he prayed that God would come down into their hearts. For the third part he asked everyone to join him in making themselves part of the pleasing gift he was making of himself.
We misuse the word Eucharist when we have it apply only to Jesus under the form of bread and wine. He is of no use to us there if we do not join him, becoming our own part of the Pleasing Gift.
First Century accounts of our Sunday worship referred to is as “our sacrifice,”not just the sacrifice of Jesus or of the priests.
Jesus chose that moment in his reciting the Last Supper blessing to give himself to us in Communion. He wanted us to be physically part of his Pleasing Gift, his Eucharist.
By hurrying through Mass to supply ourselves with a consecrated host for benediction, we are missing out on the beauty of identifying ourselves with Jesus as part of the Pleasing Gift.