1 Corinthians 11:23-26;Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; Psalm 116:12-13, 15-18; John 13:1-15
This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. (1 Corinthians 11:24)
Today we celebrate Holy Thursday, the day when Jesus instituted the Eucharist and told us, “Do this in memory of me.” Since that day, Mass has been celebrated hundreds of millions of times in every corner of the world—all in obedience to Jesus’ command.
There is an intimate relationship between what happened on Holy Thursday and what happened on Good Friday—and that relationship applies to us today. On the cross, Jesus gave up his life for our sins and reconciled us with his Father. But his death on the cross doesn’t mean that we go to heaven automatically. We need to cooperate with the grace that he poured out on the cross. And this is where the Eucharist comes in.
The Jesus who died on the cross is the same Jesus who is now present on the altar at Mass. The One who paid for our sins on the cross is the same One who freely pours out the blessings and grace of our redemption on the altar. The One who said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” on the cross now offers himself to us—body and blood, soul and divinity—in the form of bread and wine.
On the cross, Jesus offered a perfect sacrifice that never needs to be repeated. On the altar, that once-for-all sacrifice is made present to us again so that we can marvel at our redemption. On the cross, he took away our sins. On the altar, he offers us continued strength to overcome the pull of sin and enter into his presence more fully. In effect, the work of the cross continues on the altar. That’s how committed Jesus is to bringing us fully into his kingdom!
So when you go to Mass today, be sure to lift up your heart to the Lord. Look intently at the consecrated Host, and see Jesus there before you. See him pouring out his mercy. See him pouring out his love. He is there, at every Mass, always working to draw us closer to himself.
“Jesus, I am in awe of your redemption. Open my eyes, Lord, to see you on the altar today and every day. Lord, I give you my heart.”~WAU