THE WORDS OF INSTITUTION AND CONSECRATION: Take this all of you, and eat of it,
For this is my body,
Which will be given up for you.
Take this all of you and drink from it,
For this is the chalice of my blood,
The blood of the new and eternal covenant,
Which will be poured out for you and for many,
For the forgiveness of sins,
Do this in memory of me
The Gospel tell us that the Last Supper took place in the context of the Passover meal – the annual feast that celebrated the foundation night in Israel’s history when God liberated them from Egypt. The Israelites celebrated the annual Passover as a liturgical “memorial” In Biblical “memorial,” the past was not merely recalled, it was re-lived. The past event was mystically made present to those celebrating the feast. At the last supper, Jesus words are that he used sacrificial language with reference to Himself.
A. The Passover itself was a sacrifice (E12:27) For Jesus to speak about body and blood in the context of Passover would bring to mind the Passover lamb, the blood of which was separated from the body in the ceremonial sacrifice.
B. When Jesus says his body “will be given up for you” the term used in Luke’s Gospel for “given up” is significant, for in the New Testament, it is associated with sacrifice.
C. When Jesus speaks of his blood “which will be poured out …for the forgiveness of sins,” he alludes to the atoning sacrifice in the Temple, which involved blood being poured out over the altar for the purpose of bringing forgiveness.
D. Jesus speaks of “the blood of the new and eternal covenant.” These words echo what Moses said in the sacrificial ceremony at Mount Sinai that sealed God’s covenant union with Israel as his chosen people (Ex24:1-17)
Jesus actions at the Last Supper mysteriously anticipate his sacrifice on the cross. In the Passover meal of the last supper, Jesus willingly offers up his own body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. This was carried out in a bloody manner on Good Friday. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ Passover, and it is made present: the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present, so that its power may be applied to our lives for the daily sins we commit and so that we can unite ourselves more deeply to Christ in his act of total self giving love. In the Eucharist , we can join all our joys and sufferings with Jesus offering of himself to the Father, and in doing so; we offer ever more of our own lives as a gift to the Father.