The Introduction 

When we hear the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, we remember our Eucharist: Take, this is my body. But originally the words implied more than a ritual offering. Jesus offered his real flesh and blood to friends and persecutors alike. He surrendered his life in that hour. Nothing could be more generous, or more gentle. Yet those who seized his body and took his life were far from gentle. There is violence buried in the word “take”. They took his body; and they slapped, spat at, mocked, whipped, pierced, and murdered him.

Today we look up at our sacrament and hear benevolent words: This is my body. The crucifix reveals the violence in those words, but all trace of it is gone from our bread and wine. What was sacrifice is now food. What was suffering is salvation. What was meant to destroy has become the source of life. Jesus died on the cross, but nothing was lost there. God gathered up the fragments of that great offering, and made eternal food. When we take the body of Jesus now, it is with great reverence.

Consider your relationship to the sacrament of Eucharist.

How has your understanding of it changed over time?

Is your life consecrated to God’s purposes? Let every moment of your day be a holy one. Give yourself, body and soul, to God in prayer, and experience the power of Eucharist.

“Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “Yes, I am, and you’ll see for yourself”.

The Scripture (Mark 14: 32-36 Gethsemane)

They came to an area called Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples, “Sit here while I pray”. He took Peter, James, and John with him. He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony. He told them, “I feel bad enough right now to die. Stay here and keep vigil with me”. Going a little ahead, he fell to the ground and prayed for a way out: “Papa, Father, you can – can’t you – get me out of this. Take this cup away from me. But please, not what I want – what do you want?”

The Story – The Never-Ending Story of Salvation

When it was released back in 2004, everyone seemed to be talking about the movie The Passion of the Christ. It was an apropos title on so many levels, inciting passionate comments from many. I remember listening to an intense discussion about it when someone who had been noticeably silent was asked his opinion. When he said that he had chosen not to see the movie, he was flooded with questions as to why. He answered quietly and simply, “I read the book. I know how the story ends”.

We enter Holy Week with the proclaiming of the Passion and death of Jesus as recounted in the Gospel of Mark. We have heard it innumerable times. We have seen various television and movie interpretations. Still, it remains compelling and moving. We are moved at the Last Supper when Jesus shares his Body and Blood. We are saddened by the apostles deserting Jesus in the garden and angered by the high priests and Pilate and by Peter’s denial. We identify with Simon of Cyrene as he carries Jesus’ cross and by Joseph of Arimathea’s courage. We shudder as we hear the cold stone rolled against the entrance of the tomb.

But we are also blessed to know that the story of our salvation does not end there in death. There will be the Alleluias of Easter to lift us up and to complete all that has happened. And while we may know the outcome, it will still remain the greatest mystery of all time.

The Commissioning

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna! We will open our hearts to his faithfulness.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna! We will stand beside those who are crucified today.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna! We will work with those who bear his name.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna! We will thank God our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

GPBS © (2024)

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