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On this Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai to deliver the Law as God promulgated it, the Israelites answered with one voice:

“We will do everything that the LORD has told us.”  Ex. 24:4.

In essence, the Israelites acknowledged their Covenant with the Lord.  How was this occasion marked?

In modern times an informal arrangement may be consummated with a handshake.  We often call these arrangements “gentlemen’s agreements.”  More formal relationships require more intricate formalities.  Some types of contracts require a written document signed by the parties.  Often when the president signs a law, he may do so in a signing ceremony.

And when Japan surrendered to end World War II, they did so in an elaborate signing ceremony on board the USS MISSOURI, with Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signing for Japan and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur signing for the Allies.

Ceremonies for events such as a surrender or passage of a significant bill serve a larger purpose than just the immediate act involved; ceremonies memorialize the events and remind all participants the gravity and significance of the events.

So, when Moses brought God’s Laws and the Israelites assented, what ceremony marked the beginning of the Covenant?

Sacrifice:

Then, having sent young men of the Israelites to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice young bulls as communion offerings to the LORD, Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls; the other half he splashed on the altar. Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people, who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will hear and do.” Then he took the blood and splashed it on the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.” Ex. 24:5-8.

Thus began the Covenant between God and His people.

So when Christ brought His people into the New Covenant, how did He mark the occasion?

Sacrifice:

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.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”  Mark 14:22-24.

Every time we celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we are transported back in time to the very moment Christ first instituted this most holy Sacrament.  As one priestly blogger noted, “we are not recreating or enacting a Last Supper but are present at the life death and resurrection of Our Lord – are present at THE Last Supper.”

Every Mass is an opportunity to rejoin Christ and His disciples in the Upper Room.

Day 27-1a

As I more greatly acknowledge Christ’s Lordship over my life and my being, my desire to be with Him should increase exponentially.Day 27-2

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Comments on: "A Privilege and a Responsibility" (3)

  1. […]  A Privilege and a Responsibility.  The Holy Eucharist is the sacrifice marking the beginning of the New Covenant.  I can re-join […]

  2. Some neighbors worship at an independent evangelical Christian church. They subscribe to the idea that everything in the entire Bible is meant to be taken verbatim. Their almost-9 year old daughter just got baptized (they don’t do infant baptism). Our almost-9 year old son is going to make his First Communion this Spring. So, when discussing our children’s impending events, the Mom asked me what, exactly, this first communion meant to Michael (my son). We have been to their church for the baptisms of their children, at one of which they had communion, which they make clear is a symbolic act. I initially felt strange at the idea of participating, and contemplated not doing so. But, upon [very swift] contemplation I realized yes, it was symbolic. I wasn’t trying to pretend it was the Sacrament of the Eucharist. It was simply sharing an act of faith with other Christians. Which is cool. Because I could accept it in the spirit that they meant it.

    So, when asked what Communion meant to us, as Roman Catholics, I was really taken aback. I have never had anyone directly ask me before.

    I explained to her that there are many things in the bible that are parables or stories, which I don’t take literally. An important point, because she does. But, when it comes to the Last Supper, we as Catholics take Christ’s instruction to be the literal truth. I find it ironic that someone who wants to take the bible literally rejects part of it as such.

    It is occasionally difficult to articulate one’s theology or beliefs, if one never questions them; of if one never has the need to articulate them to someone who doesn’t believe, or who is ignorant of the topic altogether. I’m not expecting our 9 year old to expound on the metaphysical aspects of the Eucharist … but the bare minimum of recognizing it is in fact the body and blood of Jesus is the critical point.

    • Thanks, Elizabeth. Great points throughout your comment. I especially relate to your comment, “It is occasionally difficult to articulate one’s theology or beliefs, if one never questions them.” It is also difficult when I don’t study our beliefs more deeply and gain a deeper understanding.

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