Vocation Meditation -
Corpus Christi 2009
On the first day of the Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, the disciples said to Jesus. "Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?"
So Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks, "Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"' He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there."
So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them and said, "Take; this is my body." Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them and all of them drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus prepared this Passover Meal with His disciples with the efficiency of His arrangements. His last moments with them must be etched in their minds not as a usual ritual of the past. He allied this ancient feast celebrating God's mercy and deliverance of His people with the new covenant He is about to reveal. Jesus gave the bread and the cup a new twist of meaning, all new to His disciples. He meant to say: 'Look! Just as this bread is broken, my body is broken for you! Just as this cup of red wine is poured out, my blood is shed for you.'
Jesus took the cup of wine that would stand for the new covenant. The old covenant would end that very night. It was the basis of the Jewish religion when on Mt. Sinai, God had entered into a covenant, a relationship with Israel. Israel, by that covenant, was bound by the law of God. If the law was broken, the covenant was broken and the relationship between God and the nation shattered! It was a relationship entirely dependent on law and on obedience to the law.
With Jesus on that Passover Night, He raised this Meal to new heights of meaning. He introduced and ratified a new covenant, a new relationship between God and humanity. This relationship is NOT dependent on the law, it is dependent on the Body He will give up and the Blood that He will shed. That is to say, this new covenant is dependent solely on LOVE, God's love for humanity! Men and women embracing the new covenant with God are no longer simply under the law of God. Because of what Jesus did, they are forever within the love of God. God's love is not oppressive, nor burdensome. It is liberating, sacrificial, yet, life-giving! This is the essence of the sacrament of the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, given for the life of the world!
Having revealed this astounding mystery, Jesus left to accomplish His ultimate Sacrifice of Love!
"This is my Body! This is my Blood of the covenant, poured out for you!"
How does the Eucharist challenge my total gift of self to God?
The Eucharist is the greatest gift of Yourself to the world. Let my vocation mirror your Gift. Make me like Bread - blessed, thanked, broken and shared. Make me like Wine - taken, blessed and poured out for love. Amen.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.