The Last Supper and the Cross | Corpus Christi Reflections from Dr. Edward Sri
by TERI TOLPA
Reflections for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi for the New Evangelization
Excerpt from The New Rosary in Scripture: Biblical Insights for Praying the 20 Mysteries by Dr. Edward Sri (published by Servant Books).
The Last Supper and the Cross
In this sense, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross begins with his institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. There in the Upper Room Jesus voluntarily offers up his body and blood as the Passover Lamb. All that is left is for that sacrifice to be carried out externally in his body on Calvary.
Therefore, when Jesus institutes the Eucharist and says, “Do this in remembrance [as a memorial] of me,” he is speaking of his sacrificial self-offering. In the Jewish sense of memorial, Jesus is commanding the apostles to make present the sacrifice of his body and blood, his total gift of love, which he offers at the Last Supper and carries out on Calvary. The Eucharist is the new Passover of the new covenant.
This is why Catholics speak of the Mass as a sacrifice. It is not a new sacrifice, but makes present the one sacrifice of Christ: “When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ’s Passover, and it is made present: the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present” (CCC, 1364). As a biblical memorial, the Passover ritual enabled the Jews to participate in the founding event of their nationhood, the Exodus, which was made present to them in the annual celebration of this feast. Similarly, as the principal memorial of the new covenant, the Eucharist allows us to share in the founding event of Christianity, Jesus’ offering of himself on the cross.
Consequently, the Catechism teaches that in the Mass, we offer in prayer our entire lives in union with Christ’s offering to the Father:
In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work are united with those of Christ and with his total offering… Christ’s sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering” (CCC, 1368).
Material for Prayer
To reflect on this most awesome event and sacrament – Corpus Christi – the SOURCE and SUMMIT of our Catholic Faith! – enjoy these insights on the Most Holy Eucharist from Dr. Edward Sri. Stay tuned throughout the week for food for the soul which you can reflect on at prayer with Scripture (there are Bible references included!) – especially in the PRESENCE of Our Eucharistic Lord in the Blessed Sacrament – at Adoration or veiled in a tabernacle!
And be sure to pass these reflections on to your friends – Catholics and non-Catholics alike! They are a beautiful blend of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition – which shows how the Catholic Church is truly founded in the Word of God made manifest through His Church.
Click here for more reflections on Corpus Christi:
What IS the Feast of Corpus Christi?
With the Feast of Corpus Christi, traditionally celebrated the Thursday after Trinity Sunday (moved to the following Sunday in the U.S.), we observe the Institution of the Holy Eucharist. Since this event (Holy Thursday) falls during Holy Week, when our hearts and minds are occupied with matters of the Lord’s Passion, the Church has recognized the importance of honoring this event at a different time. (Thanks to New Advent for this information!)
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In response to the call of Jesus Christ and His Church, the Augustine Institute is a Catholic Institute of Higher Education that forms disciples for leadership in the New Evangelization through intellectual, personal, and practical instruction so that they may renew the Church and transform the world for Christ. Learn more at www.AugustineInstitute.org.