Mark 14:12-16; 22-26
It was in order to celebrate the Passover of the Jews that Jesus, on the eve of his death, met with his disciples. It was his last meeting with them, we call it the “Last Supper”.
The city was overcrowded with visitors. It was difficult to find a room in which to meet. Families came from all parts of the country, bringing with them their lamb for the sacrifice in the Temple and, immediately after, each family celebrated the Passover Supper and ate the lamb. The celebration of the Passover Supper was presided over by the father of the family. Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples, his new “family”.
Mark gives greater stress to the contrast between the action of Jesus and the attitude of the disciples. Before his act of love, Jesus speaks of the betrayal of Judas and, after the act of love he speaks of the denial of Peter and of the flight of the disciples. Thus he places emphasis on the unconditional love of Jesus who overcomes the betrayal, the denial and the flight of his friends. It is the revelation of the gratuitous love of the Father!
Taking advantage of the freedom that the ritual gave him, Jesus gave new significance to the symbols of bread and wine. When he shared the bread he said: “Take and eat, this is my body given up for you!” When he shared the chalice of wine he said: “Take and drink, this is my blood shed for you and for many.” Finally, aware that this was the last meeting, the “last supper”, Jesus said: “I shall never drink wine any more until the day I drink new wine in the kingdom of God”. He thus united his commitment, symbolised by the broken and shared bread, with the Kingdom.
Eucharist means celebrating the memory of Jesus who gives his life for us. This is the deep meaning of the Eucharist: to make present in our midst, and to experience in our lives, the experience of Jesus who gives himself in his death and resurrection.