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Jesus, Our Passover Lamb

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

As we approach the Paschal Triduum, it is appropriate that this day’s reading focuses on the Institution of the Eucharist.

In 2002, Blessed John Paul II introduced the Mysteries of Light, or the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.  Introducing the new Mysteries, the Pontiff said, “each of these mysteries is a revelation of the Kingdom now present in the very person of Jesus.

Admittedly, these new Mysteries did not have a profound impact on me in 2002.  Being a traditionalist/conservative (which, in my case, you can read: predisposed to resist change), I am not sure that I wholly embraced them, but at the same time in my reverence for the Magisterium I did not actively resist them either.

Once I started praying the Rosary more faithfully, however, I soon discovered the richness of these Mysteries of Light.  Some easily tug at my heart (particularly the Wedding at Cana, when Mary tells the servants to obey her son); some challenge my understanding of our faith (particularly the Proclamation of the Kingdom of God), and one in particular reminds me of my hunger—my thirst—for Him:  the fifth Mystery of Light, the Institution of the Holy Eucharist.

This Lent I have been praying the Rosary and meditating on its Mysteries more regularly.  I particularly have enjoyed the Scriptural Rosary, which interjects a relevant scriptural passage with each Hail Mary in a decade.  For the Fifth Mystery of Light, these verses are used:

1.    Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, / the disciples came to Jesus, saying, / “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” (Mt 26:17)
2.    [Jesus] said, / “Go into the city to such a one, and say to him, / ‘The Teacher says, My  time is at hand; / I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” (Mt 26:18)
3.    And when the hour came, / he sat at table, and the apostles with him. / And he said to them, / “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Lk 22:14-15)
4.    And as they were eating, he said, / “Truly, I say to you, / one of you will betray me.” (Mt 26:21)
5.    Judas, who betrayed him, said, / “Is it I, Master?” (Mt 26:25)
6.    Now as they were eating, / Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, / and gave it to the disciples and said, / “Take, eat; / this is my body.” (Mt 26:26)
7.    And he took a chalice, / and when he had given thanks / he gave it to them, saying, /  “Drink of it, all of you; / for this is my blood of the covenant, / which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:27-28)
8.    For as often as you eat this bread and drink the chalice, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Cor 11:26)
9.    “I am the living bread which comes down from heaven; / if any one eats of this bread, / he will live forever; / and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world / is my flesh.” (Jn 6:51)
10.    “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, / and I will raise him at the last day.” (Jn 6:54)

As I meditate on this Mystery, I am gaining a deeper understanding of the profound sacrifice Christ made for me and for all.  But today’s reading, which focuses on the rich parallels between the Old Testament and the events on that first Paschal Triduum, again reveals to me how much I have yet to learn and how much greater an appreciation I have yet to gain.

I am excited to continue this in-depth exploration of the pivotal event that we celebrate every Sunday at Mass.

Day 41-1
While my Lenten activities have highlighted my relative ignorance about my faith, even more they have whet my appetite to learn even more, to grow in faith and understanding.Day 41-2


Joyful Anticipation



I can learn a lot by watching my dog.  For example, whenever I am eating she is always so attentive.  If I have a single scrap, or if she even suspects I do, she is underfoot, staring with anticipation, hoping that I drop something for her.  And lately I’ve seen in her a kindred sensation, similar to the feeling of joyful anticipation I sometimes feel at Mass.  I don’t always feel this sense of expectancy, but when I most fully appreciate Who it is that I am about to receive, I start to get that thrill of hope. And so I try to be more attentive during the Liturgy of the Eucharist when the priest raises the host and repeats the words of Christ,

Take this, all of you, and eat of it: for this is my Body which will be given up for you.

Juan Martín Cabezalero - The Communion of Saint Theresa

At times I have to remind myself of the significance of the event.  I have to admit that, while I am a cradle Catholic, I don’t always appreciate this sacrifice, nor the power of the physical, real presence of our Savior.  But when I begin to more fully appreciate the reality of His presence, I enter the Communion line with a sense of anticipation, like a child ticking away each day of Advent until Christmas Eve.  And as the line ahead of me dwindles, and the Eucharistic Minister–the Christ Bearer– is nearer, I find the experience humbling and exhilarating to know that He gave himself so fully and so completely for me.  I just hope that He sees in me the same excitement to see Him as my dog shows for me.  And I hope I am just as attentive, just as focused on the morsel that will fully satisfy me, as Rudy is on the little scrap that will barely whet her appetite.IMG_0266

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