Grace: To have a felt sense of Jesus’ desire to give me his whole self, in love.
Text for Prayer: Mt 26:20-35
Reflection: From the moment of the Agony in the Garden, it seems as if Jesus enters into the drama of his betrayal, passion, and death with unflinching determination. This determination is based on his confidence in his communion with the Father.
Early on in the Last Supper, Jesus reveals that one of his beloved will betray him. Still, the meal unfolds. This knowledge of the coming betrayal adds a dimension of dread to what is happening. The full knowledge He has of the ways in which He has been and will continue to be “handed over” is most perfectly signified in the way in which He is “handed over” to us in the Eucharist. Jesus being handed over to the authorities and before being hung upon the Cross is anticipated in this moment of the Passover meal that He celebrates with His disciples. Though this meal is marked by the dread of what is about to happen, it remains indeed a celebration of the love that does not back down in the face of suffering, betrayal, and death.
In John’s Gospel, the Last Supper scene does not include a description of the institution of the Eucharist. Instead, it describes the establishment of a Eucharistic way of life in which Jesus shows the disciples how to hand themselves over—in abandonment and radical service to their neighbor—by washing the feet of his own disciples. Jesus shows Peter and us how to become small, how to be handed over, how to become food that is broken apart and handed over to others so that they might have life. In this act of self-surrender, not only does it become possible for others to live but death itself is defeated. That is to say, in the instituting of the Eucharist, not only does Jesus give us the means for living a life with God, but He also invites us to share in this Eucharistic way of life.
Questions: When have I experienced this grace in communion, to really sense the Lord Jesus giving himself away to me, personally, and to the whole congregation so that we might live? How can I open up my eyes to that truth in a new way when I next go to mass? In what ways am I participating in this Eucharistic way of life, being broken apart and poured out for others, that they might live? In what ways am I holding back in this gift of myself? Are there new ways of letting go of myself that the Lord is calling me to today? Do I have the courage to ask for that desire?