A reflection on the Mass in the context of Holy Week.
We go to Mass every Sunday or more. We know the routine so well we sometimes go on auto-pilot. We receive the Eucharist habitually. And we lose our sense of awe and mystery.
I’m here to bring it back today.
Let’s start with what we know.
1. The Last Supper is the first Mass.
If we know anything about the Mass, we know this. The Mass is often referred to as “The Lord’s Supper,” or the “Breaking of Bread,” bringing us back to that first Lord’s Supper – the Last Supper (CCC 1329).
When we read the accounts of the Last Supper in the Bible, we see the familiar ritual. The bread, the cup, the words of the consecration. It’s all there.
The Catechism asserts that Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist on that night, and He told the Apostles clearly: keep doing this (CCC 1323).
There’s even evidence that the Mass has had pretty much the same structure as far back as the second century (CCC 1343).
Jesus celebrated the first Mass at the Last Supper, and it remains the same Mass, the center of our Faith, today.
Jesus celebrated the first Mass at the Last Supper and it remains the center of our faith, today. Tweet this.
You knew all this, right?
Just making sure.
2. Every Mass makes present Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.
Also clear. The words of the consecration point us straight to the Crucifixion (CCC 1339). This is my body given for you… This is my blood poured out for you. When were Jesus’ Body and Blood broken, poured out, sacrificed for us? At the Crucifixion. Second grade level CCD here.
The Catechism tells us the Eucharist is the very body, the very blood sacrificed on the Cross (CCC 1365). They’re the same!
They become present and real during the Mass. Jesus’ sacrifice is re-presented in an unbloody way (CCC 1363).
He’s not sacrificed again and again, but once for all-time, and ever-present in the Holy Eucharist (CCC 1363).
You knew all that too.
Time for the shock and awe. Let’s get real real here.
3. The Last Supper came before the Crucifixion.
Basic Bible timeline: Holy Thursday. Then Good Friday.
But this means that the first Mass came before the Crucifixion. In that Mass at the Last Supper, Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross was re-presented in an unbloody way.
Made present again. In memorial of His crucifixion. Even though it didn’t happen yet.
What the what?!
In case you’re not as shocked as I am, imagine this. Today, I’m going to have a memorial in celebration of everything I’m going to do tomorrow. I’ll do a little reenactment too, just to make it really present to you.
I can read your mind: “You’re nuts, lady.”
You don’t have a memorial of something that didn’t happen yet. You don’t make something present again that hasn’t even been presented in the first place.
Unless you’re God.
Because God is omnipotent and He can do whatever the heck He wants.
God is omnipotent and He can do whatever the heck He wants. Tweet this.
He’s not limited to time and space.
He could have waited until after He sacrificed His Body and Blood on the Cross to institute the Eucharist. He was going to come back to life anyways. I mean, that would make more sense chronologically.
But He didn’t.
Because He was giving us an opportunity to know that “The power of the blessing prevails over that of nature” (CCC 1375).
Yep, He can defy nature.
So He sat at that Supper, telling the Apostles what was going to happen, heightening their amazement and wonder at His crazy powers and knowledge because…
Wait for it…
He rises from the dead.
That’s right. He can tell us the future, re-present something that didn’t even happen yet, and come back to life after being brutally murdered.
I can’t explain it to you.
I’m not a theologian.
So crack open your Catechism to read more about how the Last Supper and the Crucifixion are “one single sacrifice” (CCC 1367).
Or just pause for a moment and tell God:
“Wow! You really are one impressively powerful God! You never cease to amaze me with the stuff You pull off. Amen.”
Wow! You really are one impressively powerful God! You never cease to amaze me with the stuff You pull off. Amen. Tweet this.
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If you loved this Holy Week reflection, you may also like Walking Holy Week with Jesus, a prayer journal from To Jesus, Sincerely.
With this prayer journal, you’ll experience Holy Week in a whole new way. Each day from the Saturday before Palm Sunday through the Resurrection has Bible readings, reflections, prayers, and journal prompts to help you immerse yourself in the reality of Jesus’ Passion, death, and Resurrection.
Imagine yourself encountering Holy Week for the first time. Place yourself into history. You’ll walk by His side every step of the way. You’ll experience the fear, the pain, the suffering, and finally, the joy of this pivotal week in Salvation History.
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