The sacrifice by which jesus saves us began at the Last Supper.

Thursday, 12/28/17

The legend of the Slaughter of the Innocents began circling several centuries later, and since it was never mentioned by Josephus, Herod's most severe critic, it is likely that it did not happen. If you don't mind, I would like to switch to saying a few words about our Holy Communion.

We have several summaries of the Last Supper in the Gospels and in the writings of St. Paul, and they make it clear for us that at the Last Supper Jesus followed the set form of table blessings at all important Jewish meals.

That blessing that Jesus followed at the Last Supper was known as the Brahkha, and it had three parts known by their Greek titles. They were first, the Anamesis when the host asked the diners to recall their favors from God; secondly, the Epiclesis when the host, speaking for all, asked God to come down and be with them; and thirdly, the Eucharistia when the host asked the diners to be one with him in making themselves into part of the host's  pleasing gift of himself to God.

Now, the four Gospels and Paul's letters were written in Greek, and the title page of our Catholic New Testaments, tell us that every translation from the original Greek to our English version has been approved by our bishops. Now, that leaves us wondering about two things!


The first thing I wonder about is that in Luke and Paul's Greek account, Jesus took up the bread Eucharistesas, and that would mean that he was changing the bread into his body to give us a role in the Eucharistia, the third part of the Brahkha. But the bishops approve of Eucharistesas being lamely translated as "having given thanks."


The second thing I wonder about in our approved translation of Our Lord's words is that our bishops approved of us translating the Present Tense of Our Lord's words  to the Future Tense. In Greek, Jesus said, "This is my body which is  for you." Our English changes that into, "This is my body which will be given for you."


While the bishops like to see the Mass as a renewal of the sacrifice of the cross, regarding the Last Supper prayers as a mere prelude to the Sacrifice, we could take Our Lord's words in the Present Tense. That would have the Last Supper to be  seen as the true beginning of Our Lord's sacrificial death.  

In the marriage covenant the bride and groom give themselves to each other. In the New Covenant of the Mass we physically become part of him and of each other. 

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