Day Thirty-Eight: The Eucharist

Holy Thursday

With the perfection of divine knowledge, Jesus knew exactly what He was doing when He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, remained there throughout the week, and sent His apostles to prepare the Passover Meal on Thursday. He knew He would give Himself sacramentally to His apostles that night. He knew that He would consent to the Father’s will in the garden after that first Eucharist. And He knew He would be arrested once His prayer was complete. He saw all, knew all, and consented to all.

Everything in Jesus’ life led up to this sacred moment that began with the Last Supper. The Last Supper became a perpetual memorial that each of us is invited to share. Strengthened by the gift of His Sacred Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, we are invited to accompany our Lord every day of our lives into His agony, consent, betrayal, arrest, suffering, death, and resurrection. Though this must be our daily activity, we commemorate this final journey that every Christian is invited to make in a unique way as we participate in the Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.

It all begins with Holy Thursday. When we attend Mass, we attend the Last Supper. The sacramental gift of the Holy Eucharist transcends time and draws us to our Lord’s altar in the upper room. That gift was a unified act that took place on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. The fruit of His Good Friday sacrifice and His Easter Sunday Resurrection is fully transmitted to us when we share in the Holy Eucharist. We will only fully comprehend this profound mystery if we are drawn into Heaven before the Beatific Vision. At that moment, we will be in eternal awe of all that Jesus did during the Triduum. For now, we must strive to penetrate that mystery through prayer and to open ourselves to God’s interior communication.

Do you understand the Eucharist? Upon receiving the Eucharist for the first time, our Lord went out to the Garden of Gethsemane, accompanied by Peter, James, and John. Those three apostles represent all of us and the invitation we receive by our reception of the Eucharist. The Eucharist invites us to join Jesus in the garden, fully consenting to the will of the Father in our lives. It invites us to accept all suffering with love, to willingly embrace injustice, to take up and carry the cross we are given, die with our Lord, and share in His Resurrection. Without being strengthened by the Most Holy Eucharist, accepting suffering will be impossible and, like the three apostles, we will fall asleep. Only later did those three and the others (except for Judas), receive the full effects of the Eucharist, remain vigilant, consent, die, and rise.

Ponder the beauty of this night. One of the most beautiful practices tonight is the adoration that takes place after Mass until midnight in churches throughout the world. If you are able to spend time in that adoration, do so. As you do, ponder the fact that receiving the Eucharist is not enough. We must allow that reception to strengthen us to accompany our Lord through the rest of the Triduum. Though suffering and sacrifice will be required along the way, the joy of the Resurrection will overshadow every sacrifice, making Holy Thursday and Good Friday the means to a much greater end.

My Eucharistic Lord, You memorialized Your perfect sacrifice on Holy Thursday and Good Friday within the Holy Mass so as to invite me to share in the glory of Your Resurrection. I thank you profoundly for this Sacred Gift and pray that I will accompany You more fully with every reception. May I live and die with You so that I will rise with You on the last day. Jesus, I trust in You.

See also: Day Thirty-Eight: 40 Days at the Foot of the Cross

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