A cursory investigation of rituals informs us that all cultures have them. For Christians, ritual expressions speak to our faith: the sign of the cross, anointings, the sacraments. In today’s readings, the ancient ritual of Passover and our Eucharistic rituals complement each other.
The new meets the old in these two testaments. The old establishes the rites for the Passover, celebrating and remembering the exodus of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery commemorated in the paschal meal. To be liberated implies a going forward.
In the new, the sacred meal in the Upper Room is sacrificial in nature. Christ gives of himself in the form of bread and wine. Then after the meal, his sacrifice of himself continues in the washing of feet and finally from the Upper Room to the ultimate sacrifice on Calvary. The liberation is complete, for we are healed from our weaknesses and our sins only with the condition to believe, trust and love our creator and all of his creation and at his command: I have given you a model to follow so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
Father Eymard professed the deep understanding of what it means to be that gift of self – or at least as much as we humanely are able to model that gift as Christ exemplified on the cross.
So, the ritual of the Paschal Meal, the meal in the Upper Room, and today the ritual of our Eucharistic meal are not separate events but rather a continuous story that always was and always will be. Today, we participate in and remember our Eucharistic history.
Our sacred readings, the cross, Eucharist, and creation all tell the story of redemption, and it is we who must add the supportive and complementary chapters. The writing begins today.
O Sacrament most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, All praise and all thanksgiving, Be every moment Thine.
Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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