St. Svithun menighet
The Feast of Corpus Christi
The short text from the Gospel describes the Last Supper according St. Mark. Despite its briefness, many things are said that are impossible to go through. But let’s take into account that that Supper had some characteristics that make it very important for us, who share the Holy Mass every Sunday.
In the first place, the Last Supper is an event surrounded by Mystery: it seems that when our Lord sent his disciples to get things ready, everything was mysteriously arranged in advance. Someone has dealt with the main issues; disciples only have to complete details. This happens in every Mass, dear brothers and sisters: Mass, mainly, isn’t something we do, Mass is something God does. He is concerned, he gets things ready, he prepares them and we participate in the best possible way: reading, singing, praying, keeping silence, we stand up, kneel, and so on. But we are always aware that there is someone who has prepared the best meal, without it Christian life turns impossible. For that reason, Church calls the Mass and other sacraments’ celebrations: “God’s Deeds”. And also, for that reason, the best way of celebrating Mass is by praising, worshipping and thanksgiving because God is so caring with us.
In second place, Last Supper isn’t just another meal: in the Gospel we can find details that show that it is a real feast: there are delicious food, quality drinks, as in every Jewish feast of those days, a big room and also cushions, a comfortable environment for guests to feel well. Mass cannot be a torment, though sometimes homilies are: in Mass we are encouraged to discover the joy of knowing how to praise our Lord and how to sing, even though we might be out of tune, because the choir will hide our mistakes. We are encouraged to enjoy with the Word of God, to discover its taste, and also, to rejoice seeing, beside us, so many other Christians that live the same faith. In my case, I want you to know that when celebrating Mass on Sundays my faith is nourished observing yours.
In third place, Last Supper is a Jewish dinner, and, at the same time Christ is the centre. That is: it is totally Christian, though in very old fashioned ways and garments rooted in Israel’s People piety. The first reading shows us the importance of animals’ sacrifices for Israel’s believers. The blood of those animals symbolized the purification of sins and the covenant with God, needed by people. But in the Last Supper there is no longer any animal’s sacrifice, no longer is a temple where to make sacrifices, there is no longer an altar to offer them to God. There only remain the symbols or bread and wine and in them, at the centre of the Supper: Christ. Christ, from now and ever after, is the sacrifice; he is the sacrificial lamb who “takes away the sins of the world”, our sins. Christ also is the temple, though demolished, in three days will be rebuilt. And Christ also is the altar in which we offer ourselves with him and with him we participate in the new covenant prepared since ancient times.
Finally, the words: “Take, eat this is my body. Take, drink, this is my blood.” The central words in the Last Supper are the clue of this feast of Corpus Christi because they talk about the presence: Our Lord not only wanted to seal an eternal covenant between us and the Father, he has not only wanted to nourish us with Eucharist to enable us to cope with the covenant’s demands, he not only has given himself as an innocent lamb to take our sins away, he also wanted to stay with us to the end of the world in the Mystery of the consecrated bread. On this day, on every Sunday, let’s thank Him, praise Him and worship Him.
Fr. Juan Carlos