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 a confidence in the fact of his communion with his Father.
Early on in the the supper, Jesus reveals that one of his beloved will betray him. Still, the meal unfolds. This knowledge of the betrayal, this continuing into the drama unfolding 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 then onto the Cross is anticipated in this moment of the Passover meal He celebrates with His disciples. Though this meal is marked by the dread of what is to happen, it remains indeed a celebration -of love- which does not back down in the face of death. This is the source of our joy as followers of Jesus in this moment.
In John’s Gospel, the last Supper scene does not include a description of the institution of the Eucharist, but rather the establishment of a Eucharistic way of life in which He shows the disciples how to hand themselves over in abandonment, in love in radical service of 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, in this act of love is the force behind which death itself will be defeated. That is to say, in the instituting of the Eucharist, not only does Jesus give us the means for living, but He also acts according to the love which is the force of his own life. This way of being given away, this Eucharistic way of life is, in fact, the only way for us to live as well. Anything less results in death.
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?