14. The Last Supper and the Eucharist
The Last Supper
Jesus used the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday to do three things.
1. To give his death its true meaning for all time to come.
2. To provide a means – the Eucharist – by which for all time to come he could:
a) gather his people in this world before his Father in Heaven;
b) give himself to them so that they could grow in his likeness.
So at the Last Supper, when Jesus took the bread and wine, he offered himself beforehand for us to his Father as he did the next day on the Cross, and as he does now for ever in Heaven.
The Last Supper was also the pattern for the Eucharist. In the Eucharist the Risen and Ascended Lord does on earth in our midst what he does in Heaven and offers himself to his Father for us. At the same time he brings us to his Father and presents us together with himself as his own people whom he came to save, and our Heavenly Father accepts us as belonging to his Son.
It is at the Consecration in the Eucharist that we do what Jesus himself did at the Last Supper and commanded us to do – we offer Jesus to God on our behalf. As we do that he fulfils his word “This is my Body”, and we offer him actually present in our midst in his Risen and Ascended Body under the outward forms of bread and wine. This offering made by him and us together we call the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
And in Communion we receive Jesus in his Risen and Ascended Body, and he and we are made truly one (see St John, chapter 6, verses 51-58).
|THE LAST SUPPER||THE EUCHARIST|
|1. Jesus took the bread and wine||1. The Offertory|
|2. Jesus gave thanks over them||2. Eucharistic Prayer (Prayer of Consecration)|
|3. Jesus broke the bread||3. Breaking of the Bread|
|4. Jesus gave the bread and wine to his disciples||4. Communion|