[Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.] (1 Cor. 11:23-26)
Tonight we enter into the most solemn celebrations in Christianity. Together these celebrations—Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper, Friday of the Passion of the Lord, and Easter Vigil—make up the Holy Paschal Triduum.
Tonight we remember and celebrate Jesus’s Last Supper at which He ordained His 12 Apostles priests and instituted the Holy Eucharist. The institution of these two sacraments, Holy Orders and Eucharist, intensify our celebration and thanksgiving tonight because it is by these two sacraments that whenever we celebrate the Holy Mass Jesus gives us His flesh and His blood to eat and drink through the hands of His priests.
At every Mass we hear Jesus speak to us, “This is my body given for you. This is my blood shed for you.” Much more than a sentimental “remembrance”, the celebration of Holy Mass is the representation of the crucifixion of our Lord—same singular sacrifice, same singular Man.
In our 2nd reading this evening we hear St. Paul handing on this gift Jesus gave His Church
“I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you.”
This “handing on” has continued in the Catholic Church in an unbroken chain reaching back to the Apostles themselves. At every Mass, by virtue of his ordination, a Catholic priest changes bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit!
So tonight we begin the Holy Triduum with the celebration of Jesus’s Last Supper. We glory in God’s gifts of the priesthood and the Eucharist which enable us to eat and drink the bread transformed into His body and the wine transformed into His blood until He comes again.
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”
I thank You, Lord Jesus, for the gift of Yourself.