All First Century accounts of the Last Supper recall Jesus doing four things in sequence: he took the bread, blessed it broke it, gave it.

Saturday, 2/14/15

The Gospel tells the story of Jesus feeding four thousand people with seven loaves of bread. This is similar to the story two chapters back in Mark’s Gospel where Jesus fed five thousand with five loaves. On both occasions Jesus did four things in succession: he took, blessed, broke, gave the bread.

There is more to that coincidence. In Mathew, Mark, and Luke’s accounts of the feeding of the five thousand and in their accounts of the Last Supper, Jesus did the same four things in the same sequence: he took, blessed, broke, gave the bread. Paul has it the same in is account of the Last Supper in First Corinthians.

Scholars are convinced that the reason Matthew, Mark Luke and Paul all have it the same way, is that by the time they wrote later in the First Century, they had been celebrating their Sunday Masses for years, always pronouncing that same sequence of four actions for what Jesus did leading up the Consecration: he took the bread, blessed broke and gave it.  

Another bit of evidence about their Mass from that First Century comes from their handbook, “The Teaching of the Apostles.”  That handbook, known by its Greek word for teaching, the “Didache,”  saw the Sunday Mass as being the people’s sharing in Our Lord’s sacrifice. It emphasized the importance of the People submitting their will to God for the purpose of their becoming part of that sacrifice of Jesus.

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