When telling about Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples, the first Christian generations remembered the wish solemnly expressed by their Teacher: «Do this in memory of me». Thus Luke the Gospel-writer and Paul the evangelizer of the Gentiles recount it.
Since its origin, The Lord’s Supper has been celebrated by Christians in order to remember Jesus, make his presence alive in our midst, and nourish our faith in him, in his message and in his life which is given over to us unto death. We remember four significant moments in the current structure of the Mass. We should live them both from within ourselves and in community.
The hearing of the Gospel
We remember Jesus when we listen in the Gospels to the story of his life and his message. The Gospels have been written precisely to guard Jesus’ memory, thus nourishing the faith of the disciples and their following of Jesus.
From the Gospel story, we don’t learn doctrine as much as Jesus’ way of being and acting, which should inspire and mould our life. That’s why we must listen with the attitude of disciples who want to learn to think, feel, love and live as he did.
The memory of the Supper
We remember Jesus’ saving action, listening with faith to his words: «This is my body. See me in these bits of bread, handing myself over for you unto death. This is the chalice of my blood. I have shed it for the forgiveness of your sins. Thus you will remember me always. I have loved you until the end».
In this moment we confess our faith in Jesus Christ, making a synthesis of the mystery of our salvation: «We announce your death, we proclaim your resurrection. Come, Lord Jesus». We feel ourselves saved by Christ our Lord.
The prayer of Jesus
Before receiving communion, we pronounce the prayer that Jesus taught us. First we identify ourselves with the three great desires that he carried in his heart: the absolute respect for God, the coming of God’s reign of justice, and the fulfilling of the Father’s will. Then with his four petitions to the Father: bread for everyone, forgiveness and mercy, overcoming temptation and liberation from all evil.
The communion with Jesus
We draw near as the poor, with our hands extended; we take the Bread of life, we receive communion making an act of faith, we welcome Jesus into our hearts and into our lives in silence: «Lord, I want to eat with you, follow your footsteps, live fully alive with your spirit, and work with you in your project of making a more human world».
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf