The Feast of Champions
Author: Father Edward McIlmail, LC | Source: Catholic.Net
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples said to him, "Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?" He sent two of his disciples and said to them, "Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"' Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there." The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover. While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God." Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I renew my faith in your true presence in the Eucharist. I believe you come down from heaven to be present in the host at every Mass and remain with me in the Tabernacle. You are the source of my hope. I long to be more united to you through this gift of yourself.
Petition: Lord, increase my appreciation and devotion to you in the Eucharist.
1. The Power of Love: As Jesus prepared to accept the cross, he showed the depth of his true love for humanity by giving himself. He promised to be with us until the end of time, and it was no empty promise. Christ, true God and true man, transformed bread and wine into his Body and Blood and gave the apostles and their successors the power to make Christ present in the Eucharist. Jesus’ love wasn’t just a passing love. His love makes itself present every day in the Eucharist. Lord, help me to grasp and be grateful for the depth of love you showed to us by giving us your Body and Blood as food.
2. It All Started with Yes: Sometimes it is easy to take words for granted. How many times do we hear the words “yes” and “no,” but take no notice? Imagine if God had decided to not become man and let us die in our sins instead. Imagine too if Mary had said “No”. The Eucharist begins with God’s “YES” to save mankind from his sin. Through his sacrifice, Jesus offers us the supreme gift of love: his own body and blood. But like any story of love, Jesus offers us his love and asks for our love in return. Our “yes” is what it takes to bring to completion God’s love in us. Yes, Lord, I truly believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist!
3. The Heavenly Banquet Awaits Us: Christ says that he will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the day he drinks it anew in the Kingdom of Heaven. What a privilege it will be to participate in this banquet of heaven. The Eucharist and Mass are a foretaste of that noble banquet. Let us resolve to inebriate ourselves with Christ’s love given us through the Eucharist. “If only you knew the gift being offered to you” (Cf. John 4:10).
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, you gave us the Eucharist as the memorial of your suffering and death. May our worship of this sacrament of your body and blood help us to experience the salvation you won for us and the peace of the Kingdom where you live forever and ever.
Resolution: Today I will receive Christ in the Eucharist and make a profound act of faith in his presence. If possible, I will also participate in a Corpus Christi procession.