“The Last Supper” (element) by Duccio

Holy Thursday, the night time of the Last Supper aka the Lord’s Supper, the establishment of the Holy Eucharist — why did Jesus do what he did and say what he mentioned? What did he imply when he mentioned “This is my body and this is my blood” and “Do this in Memory of Me”?  And what does the Catholic Church imply by speaking about transubstantiation and the physique of Christ?  All that is remembered & celebrated on the feast of Corpus Christi.

This put up focuses on transubstantiation, transformation and the establishment of the eucharist because the physique of Christ.  It is a mirrored image on the scriptures for each Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi.  These come from Exodus 12:1-14, Psalm 116, I Cor 11:23-26 and John 13:1-15.  Also Deuteronomy eight:2-Three & 14b-16a; Ps. 147, 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 and the Bread of Life discourse as present in John 6:51-58. 

On Holy Thursday, the night time earlier than he died, the Lord Jesus made some startling modifications within the ritual of the Passover meal.  Instead of being content material with the standard Jewish desk blessing over the bread, Jesus proclaimed “take and eat for this is my body.”  Over the third cup of wine, often called the cup of blessing, he mentioned “take and drink for this is my blood.”  Then he commanded the disciples “do this in memory of me.”


Obedient to the needs of the savior, we keep in mind and reenact this solemn second in a particular method every Holy Thursday and Feast of Corpus Christi, however extra regularly in each Mass.  Indeed the Catholic Church teaches that within the Eucharist, the communion wafer and the altar wine are reworked and actually turn out to be the physique and blood of Jesus Christ.  Have you ever met anybody who has discovered this Catholic doctrine to be a bit exhausting to take?

If so, you shouldn’t be shocked.  When Jesus spoke about consuming his flesh and consuming his blood in John 6, his phrases met with lower than an enthusiastic reception.  “How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (V 52).  “This is a hard saying who can listen to it?” (V60).  In truth so many of his disciples deserted him over this that Jesus needed to ask the twelve if in addition they deliberate to give up.  It is attention-grabbing that Jesus didn’t run after his disciples saying, “Don’t go – I was just speaking metaphorically!”


How did the early Church interpret these difficult phrases of Jesus?

Here’s an attention-grabbing truth.  One cost the pagan Romans lodged in opposition to the Christians was cannibalism. Why?  You guessed it.  People heard that this sect often met to eat and drink human blood.  Did the early Christians say: “wait a minute, it’s only a symbol!”?  Not in any respect.

When making an attempt to elucidate the Eucharist to the Roman Emperor round 155 AD, St. Justin didn’t mince his phrases: “For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the word of prayer which comes from him . . . is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.”



Not many Christians questioned the actual presence of Christ’s physique and blood within the Eucharist until the center ages.  In making an attempt to elucidate how bread and wine are turned into the physique and blood of Christ, a number of theologians went astray and wanted to be corrected by Church authority.

Then St. Thomas Aquinas got here alongside and supplied an evidence that grew to become basic.  In all change that we observe on this life, he teaches, appearances change, however deep down, the essence of a factor stays the identical.  Example: if, in a match of mid-life disaster, I traded my mini-van for a Ferrari, deserted my spouse and 5 youngsters to be seaside bum, received tanned, bleached my hair blonde, spiked it, buffed up on the gymnasium, and took a visit to the plastic surgeon, I’d look so much completely different on the floor.  But for all my bother, deep down I’d nonetheless considerably be the identical ole man as after I began.

St. Thomas mentioned the Eucharist is the one occasion of change we encounter on this world that’s precisely the alternative.  The appearances of bread and wine keep the identical, however the very essence or substance of these realities, which might’t be considered by a microscope, is completely reworked.  What was as soon as bread and wine at the moment are Christ’s physique and blood.   A useful phrase was coined to explain this distinctive change.  Transformation of the “sub-stance”, what “stands-under” the floor, got here to be referred to as “transubstantiation.”


What makes this occur?  The energy of God’s Spirit and Word.  After praying for the Spirit to come back (epiklesis), the priest, who stands within the place of Christ, repeats the phrases of the God-man: “This is my Body, This is my Blood.”   Sounds to me like Genesis 1: the mighty wind (learn “Spirit”) whips over the floor of the water and God’s Word resounds. “Let there be light” and there was gentle.  It isn’t any more durable to consider within the Eucharist than to consider in Creation.

But why did Jesus organize for this transformation of bread and wine?  Because he meant one other sort of transformation.  The bread and wine are reworked into the Body and Blood of Christ that are, in flip, meant to remodel us.  Ever hear the phrase: “you are what you eat?”  The Lord needs us to be reworked from a motley crew of imperfect people into the Body of Christ, come to full stature.


Evangelical Christians communicate typically of an intimate, private relationship with Jesus.  But I ask you, how way more private and intimate are you able to get?  We obtain the Lord’s physique into our bodily physique that we could turn out to be him whom we obtain!

It is that this astounding present that we keep in mind and rejoice on the feast of Corpus Christi.

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