The Gospel this weekend is this:
Mk 14:12-16, 22-26.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, "Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
13 He sent two of his disciples and said to them, "Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him.
14 Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"'
15 Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there."
16 The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover…
22 * While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body."
23 Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.
25 Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
26 Then, after singing a hymn, * they went out to the Mount of Olives.
The first reading is this:
When Moses came to the people and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD, they all answered with one
voice, "We will do everything that the LORD has told us."
4 Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and,
rising early the next day, he erected at the foot of the
mountain an altar and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of
5 Then, having sent certain young men of the Israelites
to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls as peace
offerings to the LORD,
6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in large
bowls; the other half he splashed on the altar.
7 Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to
the people, who answered, "All that the LORD has said, we will
heed and do."
8 Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the
people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which the
LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words of his."
The second reading is this:
When Christ came as high priest of the good
things that have come to be, * passing through the greater and
more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not
belonging to this creation,
12 he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with
the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus
obtaining eternal redemption.
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the
sprinkling of a heifer's ashes can sanctify those who are
defiled so that their flesh is cleansed,
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through
the eternal spirit * offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse
our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
15 For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant:
since a death has taken place for deliverance from
transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called
may receive the promised eternal inheritance.
This weekend we celebrate the way in which Christ communicates to us how much he loves us: giving his body and blood on the cross.
This is the best of kisses. A kiss between humans may be superficial (a rubbing of the labial epithelium!), or it may be communicating a deep love of heart. The body and blood of Christ are certainly deep and he can heat-up our cold hearts.
Human kisses may be superficial or even false. Indeed, it was with a kiss that Judas identified Jesus for his arrest in Gethsemane (Mt 26:49). Jesus was crucified and when they flung in a spear to ensure he was dead, what came out was blood and water (Jn 19:34). The priest puts water in the wine after the Offertory of mass says a little prayer thanking God for mixing our simple humanity with his wonderful divinity (water with wine). It is the mixture that gets consecrated.
The symbolism comes from much earlier. The last supper was the traditional Passover dinner. It is in memory of the 'exodus' (escape) when the Jews fled from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12 +). They went from slavery to freedom. They had to get out fast and therefore their bread was Unleavened (the hosts at mass are made of Unleavened Bread). It symbolizes the fact that we’re all ‘on a journey’ and are not going to be a long time in this physical world.
The second reading of the letter to the Hebrews describes the sacrifice of Jesus in terms known to the Jews. Talk about the blood of animals may sound ugly to us, but it was a well-known symbol of the first Covenant made by God with Moses (Ex 24). The transition from slavery to freedom was marked with the sacrifice of a lamb without blemish and that is why we speak of the ‘Paschal Lamb’. At the last supper with friends, Jesus passed the bread and wine saying "This is my body and my blood". It all symbolizes God's immense love. Jesus got sacrificed and "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". So let’s return the kiss - let's repeat a genuine 'Thanksgiving' today's from the heart (Eucharist).
Jesus asks the lads in the Gospel today to prepare a room (Mc 14:14). Is Christ perhaps asking that our personal lives today be lives through which God can communicate his love for the world? Note that Moses was asked to write the words of God and read them out loud, so it’s also relevant that the readings are an important part of our celebration of the body and blood of Christ.
If we take his body and blood at mass not only in our mouths, but also ‘in our hearts’, then maybe we will make it into the party. I reckon that Christ’s eternal party will be good!
Este domingo celebramos la forma en que Cristo nos comunica cuánto nos ama: dando su Cuerpo y Sangre en la cruz.
Es el mejor de los besos. Un beso entre humanos puede ser superficial (un roce del epitelio labial), o puede estar comunicando un amor profundo de corazón. El Cuerpo y la Sangre de Cristo son ciertamente profundos. Y puede calentar nuestros corazones fríos.
Los besos humanos pueden ser superficiales o aún falsos. De hecho, fue con un beso que Judas identificó a Jesús para su entrega en Getsemani (Mt 26:49). Jesús se dejó crucificar y cuando se le clavó una lanza para asegurar que estaba muerto, salió sangre y agua (Jn 19:34). El sacerdote pone agua en el vino después del ofertorio de la misa y dice una pequeña oración dando gracias a Dios por mezclar nuestra humanidad sencilla con su divinidad maravillosa (agua con vino). Es la mezcla que acaba consagrada.
El simbolismo viene de mucho antes. La Última Cena era la cena tradicional de la Pascua Judía. Es en memoria del ‘éxodo’ cuando escaparon los judíos de su esclavitud en Egipto (Éxodo 12+). Pasaron de la esclavitud a la libertad. Tuvieron que salir rápidos y por eso su pan estaba sin levadura (las ostias de la Eucaristía están hechos de pan ácimo). Simboliza cómo estamos todos de viaje y no vamos a estar mucho tiempo en este mundo físico.
La segunda lectura es de la carta a los Hebreos y describe el sacrificio de Jesús en términos conocidos por los Judíos. Hablar de la sangre de toro etc. nos puede sonar feo a nosotros, pero era símbolo bien conocido de la primera Alianza que hizo Dios con Moisés (Ex 24). El paso de la esclavitud a la libertad era marcado con el sacrificio de un cordero sin mancha y es por eso que hablamos de ‘El Cordero Pascual’. En la última cena con sus amigos, Jesús les pasó el pan y el vino diciendo “Este es mi cuerpo y mi sangre”. Todo simboliza el amor inmenso de Dios. Jesús no sacrificó a un cordero, sino a si mismo. “Este es el Cordero de Dios que quita el pecado del mundo”. Entonces devolvamos el beso – hagamos de la misa de hoy una genuina ‘acción de gracias’ (Eucaristía) desde el corazón.
Jesús pide en el Evangelio hoy que se prepare una sala (Mc 14:14). ¿Está Cristo quizá pidiendo que nuestras vidas personales hoy sean vidas a través de las cuales Dios puede comunicar su amor por el mundo? Nota también que se pidió a Moisés escribir las palabras de Dios y leerlas para el pueblo, entonces es relevante que las lecturas forman una parte muy importante de nuestra celebración de Cuerpo y Sangre de Cristo.
Si tomamos su cuerpo y sangre en la misa no solamente en nuestras bocas, sino en nuestros corazones, entonces puede ser que formaremos una parte de la fiesta. ¡La fiesta eterna de Cristo será buena!
Reflections of faith
Read and be inspired by the reflections and experiences of faith, based on the Word of God.