Wednesday, 4/5/17Tuesday. 4/5/17
Twenty-five years ago a very learned priest in our diocese, Monsignor James, was in charge of a Cursillo weekend, and he asked me to give a forty-minute talk on the Eucharist. I told the monsignor I would be happy to give the talk, because I had many fine things to say about the Eucharist, but he handed me a book, saying, “I want you to follow what this book says about the Eucharist.”
I am sorry, but I can’t remember the name of that book. However, I remember what it said about celebrating the Eucharist. In fact, I have put that book’s message into the Mass I offer every day.
What the book said was that although Jesus completed his sacrifice on the cross, he had already sacrificed himself at the Last Supper when he asked the Apostles to become part of his sacrifice.
All the New Testament accounts of the Last Supper reveal that in his Grace at Meals, Jesus followed a standard Jewish table blessing that had three parts to it. It began with the guests recalling the favors they had from God, it next had them asking for God’s Spirit upon them; and it concluded with their offering themselves to God as a pleasing gift. St. Augustan tells us that it is the people joined with Jesus as one pleasing gift that made the Last Supper and our Mass a sacrifice,
Our Lord’s sacrifice of himself was concluded at his death on the cross, but it was begun at the pleasing gift time at the Last Supper.
In both Paul's and Luke's accounts, our church, intent on showing gratitude for Our Lord’s death on the cross, mistranslate some key words. . In the Greek they both said Jesus took up the bread eucharistesas, or at the last part of our Lord’s table blessing’ While Luke’s and Paul’s Greek language description of the Last Supper say that Jesus took up the bread at the Pleasing Gift time, for Paul we translate that word eucharistesas as “having given thanks;” while for Luke we translate the same word as “said the bessing.”
In both Luke’s account and in our words of consecration at our Mass we say, “this is my body which will be given for you. While, in fact the Greek has Jesus saying, “This is my body which is given for you.” He wasn’t waiting to the next day to offer up himself in the sacrifice.
It is at the time he becomes a Pleasing Gift in the Mass that he comes to us in communion. He comes to us then for us to physically be part of the same Pleasing Gift.