What are you looking forward to right now? Maybe you have a vacation coming up. Maybe you have a child graduating or competing in something they love. Maybe you have a date nigh this weekend. Maybe you have a big work thing about to be accomplished or completed. Maybe you just have a solid plan for dinner. Whatever the case, anticipation of something good (or the end of something tough) is one of the great joys of being human.
April 10, 2022 is Palm Sunday. We all get palms and participate in a reenactment sort of procession before Mass begins. The other name for this Sunday is Passion Sunday because we will be hearing the story of Jesus’ suffering and death when the gospel is read.
At the beginning of this story we hear Jesus say, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer…” Jesus is literally looking forward to sharing this last supper. I think for the most part we take for granted that Jesus is God and so everything was “easy” for him, but I honestly don’t think that is the case.
Imagine knowing you are about to share your last meal with your friends. You know that when this meal concludes you will be arrested, tried, tortured, and killed. I don’t know about you, I don’t think I would be eagerly anticipating each of the next steps to happen. Yet Jesus says he eagerly desires it. Why?
I think he eagerly desires to share this meal because of what it is going to mean for his disciples and indeed for the Church. Jesus will promise to be with the disciples until the end of the age. He has a plan to be intimately close to his followers and that plan is through the Mass and the Eucharist. This meal, this last supper, is the institution of the Eucharist.
It is on this night when Jesus begins the practice of Mass and makes this sacred meal a Sacrament for the Church. On the one hand it is Jesus’ gift of himself to God the Father, a sacrifice made on our behalf. On the other it is Jesus’ gift to us in order to be intimately close to us now so that we can be in perfect communion with Jesus forever in heaven. The Eucharist is the Bread of Life.
Why is Jesus eager to eat this Passover with his followers? Because he is eager to accomplish his mission to save us from sin and death. Jesus is eager to institute the Sacrament of the Mass. Jesus is eager to share himself even more fully and completely with his followers and with you and me.
Live It: Are you eager to go to Mass this weekend? Do you eagerly desire to receive the Eucharist? Take out your phone and turn to notes or grab a piece of scratch papered a pen. On a scale of 1-10, how eager are you to go to Mass or receive the Eucharist? Write that number down. Are you happy with that number? If not, what can you do to raise it? Do that.