I ask you this question today: Can the redemption of mankind be obtained by participating in a sacred meal? If you think about it, Adam and Eve ate a meal, the wrong meal, and fell from God. Safety for the life of the first-born in Egypt was to bring your family together and eat a special meal. Just as sin entered all mankind through the sin of one man, Adam, redemption for mankind is offered through one perfect sacrifice, Jesus.
To say, “He died for me,” is a very accurate statement, but I believe to include how He died for me needs to be addressed. At His death He fulfilled the old covenant and became the perfect sacrifice of the new covenant. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. From the time of Moses in Exodus, through the New Testament, it is obvious that God has a master plan for the forgiveness of sins and for our salvation that has been fulfilled through the perfect sacrifice and continues to be fulfilled today at every Mass. Because of the way that the gospel writers recorded the manner in which Jesus handled the bread, He took, blessed, broke, gave, when He fed 5000, and when He fed 4000, at the Lord’s Supper, at the table with the disciples in Emmaus, and in the letters of Paul to the Corinthians. It is clear that we should connect each of these events to one another and eventually to the Eucharist in Acts. Even at the feeding of the 5000, they connected Jesus’ bread miracle to the miracle of Moses and the manna in the desert to the Israelites. We should also see a pattern that nothing is wasted in handling the Passover lamb. And nothing is wasted when handling the manna in the desert. And nothing is wasted in the feeding of the 5000, and nothing is wasted in the feeding of the 4000. And also nothing is wasted in the careful manner in which the Catholic Church handles the Eucharist today. St. John connects the male, unblemished Passover lamb of Exodus to the unblemished Lamb of Jesus on the cross, and we should too.
Jesus could have died any day of the year, but He didn’t. He didn’t just choose any day to die; He chose to die at Passover. His death at Passover was intended and well planned. He fulfills the old covenant Passover meal, and the night before He dies, He institutes a new covenant. He commands us to “do this in remembrance of me.” Therefore, it should be easy to see why the Church celebrates Holy Communion in every Catholic Church every day throughout the world in more than 3000 languages.
Each time that I participate in Mass, I am made more aware of the teachings of the Church. When I receive Holy Communion, I try to focus on the fact that I am living in this new covenant. I want to do my part in this new covenant, but what is my part? The Lamb of God has been sacrificed and the Church has empowered its priests through the words of consecration and the presence of the Holy Spirit to change ordinary bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord Jesus. So just what is my part as a Catholic lay person? It is to eat the Lamb and drink His blood. Just like in the first Passover meal, the escape from the Angel of Death was to gather your family together and celebrate a meal, and mark the entrance of your home with the blood of the lamb. This perpetual institution continues in the Catholic Church today as we gather the Church family together and celebrate the meal of the Eucharist. Each time, when the priest holds up the Eucharist, and says, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, happy are we who are called to this supper,” I will respond, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”
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