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Evening Mass of the

Lord's Supper
Cycle ABC
13 April 2017

Exod. 12: 1-8; 11-14

I Cor. 11: 23-26
Jn. 13: 1-15
John's Gospel does not have an
Institution Account. Instead, he has
only the Washing of the Feet during
his Last Supper with his disciples on
the night before he died.

We re-enact it this
evening as we begin
Easter Triduum.
Let us focus then on the Eucharist
under its threefold dimension as
(1) Meal,
(2) Sacrifice, and
(3) Service of Love.
Let us unpack each
of these three
dimensions from the
three readings these

Our problems began with

a bad meal. Adam and
Eve in the Garden of
Eden took the fruit of the
Tree of Knowledge of
Good and Evil as their
own prerogative.
What God has wanted from
the beginning was to feed
humanity with his very life.
That is why he placed man in
the midst of a Garden!
But here is the rub!
The Divine Life because it
is a gift can only be
received as a gift but never
to be taken as a possession.
That was what went wrong
with our first Parents.

Throughout Salvation History,

God is continually re-establishing
the gracious Meal.
From our first reading from
Exodus, the defining activity of the
Jewish People, even until today,
is a meal once a year.
That is why also for Jesus
table fellowship is so important.

gather around a meal to undo

the bad meal of Eden.
That is why just before he died he gathered
his disciples around for a meal and said in
thanksgiving to the bread:
"This is my body! Take and eat."

To the wine after supper he said:

"This is my blood! Take and drink."
1 The Last Supper is the undoing of the
Garden of Eden, the re-establishment of
the great festive banquet.
This is exactly what we
are doing every time we
gather together for
We sit again for a
meal to listen to the
word of God and then
to eat his body and
drink his blood.
That is why the center of the
Mass is a table for eating!
That is only
a part of the Eucharist!
In a world gone wrong, there is no
communion (sacred banquet)
If we are off kilter, not aligned,
and we want to put back the
balance, it will cost us some
pain, even blood. It will be
painful and difficult to put it
back to where it was before.

That is why every major

covenant in O.T. is
accompanied by sacrifice.
The Passover meal itself is
centered on a sacrifice .

Note that God has no need of our sacrifice.

We are not propitiating for a dysfunctional
Father. Rather what happened to the
animal should happen to the offeror.
The Passover Lamb is not
mentioned because Jesus himself
is the Lamb of God as he was
referred to by John The Baptist.

that will be given up for you."

This is pure Temple
Language that is so clear
from Paul's own version
of the Institution in
I Cor. 11: 24-26.
So Jesus announces himself as
the Paschal Lamb not because
the Father needs it but
because we need it.

That is why the locus of the

Mass is also an altar for the

John's Gospel on the Washing of the Feet

during the Last Supper adds another
dimension on the Eucharist.

Servants used to wash

the feet of travelers and
visitors. That night
Jesus chose to be the
servant of his disciples.
Jesus did not intend merely
to wash them clean and
make them feel fresh. His
washing their feet
symbolizes their being
purified in baptism and in
the sacrament of penance
or reconciliation.

That is why Peter who

initially refused to be
washed by the Master
was warned:
"If I do not wash you,
you will have no part
in me." (Jn. 13: 8b)
At the end of this incident, Jesus explained
the meaning of what he has just done:
"If I wash your feet -- I who am your
Teacher and Lord -- then you must wash
each other's feet." (Jn. 13: 14)
Service or the new
Commandment of
Love is the mission of
those who participate
at the Eucharist.
They are charged with this mission
in the world after every Mass when
the priest tells after blessing them:
"Go! The Mass has been

The Eucharist takes place at a table

because it is a Holy Meal that God
wants to share with his People;
at an altar because it is a Holy
Sacrifice that makes the meal possible
in a fallen world and carries with it
the mission of brotherly Love
in the world!
To appreciate the
Eucharist, we have to
keep these three
dimensions in mind!

What a wonderful Sacrament!