DOING THIS IN MEMORY OF JESUS
Jesus creates a special atmosphere in the supper of farewell that he shares with his own the evening before his execution. He knows it is the last. He will no longer return to sit down at the table with them until the final celebration with the Father. He wants to leave well etched in their memory what his life has always been about: passion for God and complete giving of self to all.
That night he will live it all so intensely that, when he breaks the bread and distributes the wine to them, he’ll come to say these memorable words: «Thus am I. I give you my whole life. Look: this bread is my body broken for you; this wine is my blood poured out for all. Don’t ever forget me. Do this in memory of me. Remember me thus: completely given to you. This will nourish your lives».
For Jesus it’s the moment of truth. In that meal he is reaffirmed in his decision to go to the end in his faithfulness to God’s project. He will always keep at the side of the weak, he will die confronting those who desire another religion and another God, forgetting the suffering of the people. He will give his life without thinking of himself. He trusts in the Father. He will put it all in God’s hands.
To celebrate the Eucharist is to make memory of this Jesus, engraving within us how he lived until the end. It’s to reaffirm ourselves in our option to live by following his footsteps. It’s to take our life into our hands in order to try to live it until the final consequences.
To celebrate the Eucharist is above all to say as he did: «I don’t want to keep this life of mine just for me. I don’t want to hoard it only for my own interests. I want to go through this world reproducing in myself something of what he lived. Without closing myself in on my selfishness; contributing from my environment and my smallness to make a more human world».
It’s easy to make of the Eucharist something very different from what it is. No more going to Mass to fulfill an obligation, forgetting what Jesus lived in the last supper. No more receiving communion thinking only of our own inner well-being. No more leaving the Church without ever deciding to live in a more self-giving way.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf