The Fifth Mystery of Light–“The Eucharist: the Sacramental Expression of the Paschal Mystery.”

In the rosary, we are invited to enter into a quiet mode of prayer--one of faith, love, and union with Christ and Mary. At the Annunciation, Mary allowed Gods Word to take flesh within her. Mary kept in her heart and pondered the meaning of the words
by Fr. Thomas A. Thompson, S.M. | Source:
In the rosary, we are invited to enter into a “quiet mode” of prayer--one of faith, love, and union with Christ and Mary. At the Annunciation, Mary allowed God’s Word to take flesh within her. Mary kept in her heart and pondered the meaning of the words which were spoken to her. Jesus described his mother as “blessed” because she heard the word of God and allowed it to resonate and bear fruit in her life. Christ’s mother was his disciple, his associate sharing in his mission of bringing God’s love to us. She was also mother of all the members of Christ’s body, the Church.


In the fifth “mystery of light,” the Eucharist, we recall Christ and the apostles at the Last Supper, the meal celebrated in remembrance of the first Passover. At this meal, Jews gave thanks for the great manifestation of God’s power freeing them from slavery in Egypt and leading them into the land of promise. Someplace--perhaps with her son, we know not where--Mary shared in the Passover meal. As a devout and observant Jew, she remembered that the blood of the lamb had delivered her people from slavery in Egypt, and that her people had been guided by God’s presence in the Ark of the Covenant and nourished with manna, “the bread from heaven.” As part of the meal, Mary chanted, “Give thanks to the Lord, who is good, whose love endures forever.”


As Christ’s disciple, Mary remembered the times when Jesus miraculously multiplied bread showing his love and compassion for the hungry who wished to hear his word. In her Canticle of Joy, she had sung, “The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich he has turned away empty.” She remembered that Jesus proclaimed that he was the “living bread ... the true manna.” He promised that “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the live of the world.”


She remembered the wedding banquet at Cana, an event which took place, two years earlier, before Passover. There, at her request, Jesus brought joy to the wedding guests by changing water into wine. When Christ said that his “hour” had not yet come, Mary sensed that the miraculous event at the marriage feast of Cana was a beginning, and that it pointed to an “hour” when Christ would bring about an even greater joy and transformation. She remembered that her words to the servants at Cana, “Do whatever He tells you,” helped made the miracle possible.


Now at the Last Supper, Jesus said that “his hour” was upon him. This meal and his death on the cross show us why he had come into the world. He so completely identified himself with the Passover--God’s coming into history to free his people--that he became the new Passover, the new Paschal Lamb. Christ’s washed his disciples’ feet and gave them the command to love and serve one another. “He took bread ... and the cup filled with wine” and changed them into his own Body and Blood. He asked his followers to do what he had done, in remembrance of him. At the Last Supper he gives his followers two clear commandments”--“Love one another as I have love you” and “Do this in remembrance of me.”



The Eucharist is the Christ’s life-giving and loving presence with his Church, until the end of time. The Eucharist makes present the Paschal mystery--Christ’s suffering, his death, his resurrection, his continuing presence in his Church through the Holy Spirit, and, finally, our union and identification with him through the sacraments. All the sacraments point to the Eucharist; they either prepare us to receive the Eucharist or ask us to live the Paschal mystery in our daily lives.


From its beginning, the Church, faithful to Christ’s command, celebrates the Eucharist in his memory and it will continue to do so “until he comes again in glory.” In every Eucharist, the whole Paschal mystery is relived. The Church offers the Eucharist “in the first place, in union with Mary, the ever-virgin and Mother of God.” In Mary, the Church finds the perfect model of worship: in Mary, the Church finds the attitudes which each of us should have as we come to the Eucharist. Mary attentively listened to and pondered God’s word; she let that word take hold and change her. Together with Christ, she gives herself to God’s plan of love and reconciliation for the world. She prays that the Church may give convincing witness of the Christ’s love for every person.


At every Eucharist, Mary wishes to nourish and strengthen the faith of the members of the Church, who are her sons and daughters. She continues sharing in the mission of Christ, the mission he received to proclaim God’s love and peace to all. Mary prays that all who are nourished by Christ’s body and blood may be filled with his Holy Spirit and become one mind, one heart, one body.


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