At his Last Supper, which was really the Jewish Passover meal, Jesus gave us an action, a mime, a sacred ritual for a community that would summarize his core and lasting message for the world. After I leave, said Jesus, just keep repeating this until I come back again, and the deep message will slowly sink in until “the bride” is fully ready to meet “the bridegroom” and drink at the eternal wedding feast.
1. Take your whole life in your hands, as I am about to do tonight and tomorrow. In very physical and scandalous incarnational language, table bread is daringly called “my body” and alcoholic wine is called “my blood.” We are saying a radical “yes” to both the physical universe itself and the bloody suffering of our own lives and all the world.
2. Then thank God (eucharisteo), who is the origin of all life. Make a choice for gratitude, abundance, and appreciation beyond the self, which has the power to radically de-center you. Your life is pure gift, and it must be given away as gift—in an attitude of gratitude.
3. Break it, let your life be broken, give it away, and don’t protect it. The sharing of the small self will be the discovery of the True Self in God. “Unless the grain of wheat dies, it remains just a grain of wheat” (John 12:24). The crushed grain becomes the broken bread, becomes the active “Body of Christ.”
4. Now chew on this mystery! “Take this,” “eat and drink this”—not alone, but together “until I return,” and you will have the heart of the message, a “new covenant” of indwelling love that is not grounded in worthiness in any form, but merely in a willingness to participate and trust. Your drinking and eating is your agreement to “do what I can to make up in my own body all that still has to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body the church” (Colossians 1:24). We should hold ourselves apart from this meal only if we are not really sure we are willing and ready to do this! (Which might mean that many of us should not participate!) It is an act of radical solidarity and responsibility much more than a “prize for the perfect” as Pope Francis says.
Adapted from Things Hidden: Scripture As Spirituality,