LAST SUPPER: CONTEMPLATION--- THE LORD GIVES ALL...
The whole life of Jesus on earth was a giving and a self-emptying, even until the last moment when He poured forth His Precious Blood for us up to the very last drop of Blood, after His Heart was pierced with the lance--- "Blood and water gushed forth."
The Life of Jesus is a lesson for us and teaching for us to imitate. His Words, Actions, Silence, Gestures, Expressions, Looks--- all of these are treasures for us to meditate, imitate, and incorporate in our lives.
At the Last Supper, Holy Thursday, the night before He was crucified, while He sat at the Table in the Upper Room, Jesus leaves for our reflection gestures that leave us astounded because of His immense love for us... Let us take these gestures and occurrences and meditate upon them in depth!
1. WASHING OF THE FEET. This was a gesture left for the lowest class in society, the slaves, who would take of the sandals of the guests and wash their feet and dry them with a towel. Jesus did this gesture to the Apostles. Lesson: humility, service, purification, and penance. These are all virtues that we must imitate in contemplating Our Lord, who said, "I have not come to be served but to serve and give my life in ransom for many."
2. GREATEST COMMANDMENT: LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU... We will all be judged on the double commandment of love of God and love of neighbor. The cross best represents this double dimension of love: the vertical, our relation with God and the horizontal, our relationship with others. Love must also be manifested by obedience as Jesus said: "If you love me keep my commandments."
3. INSTITUTION OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST. There at the Last Supper, Jesus gave us His greatest gift by instituting the greatest of all the Sacraments: The Holy Eucharist, withe the words: " Take and eat this is my Body; take and drink this is my Blood..." May our hearts abound in thanksgiving and adoration for this sublime gift given for you and for me." May our reception of this gift be faith-filled, frequent and fervent, until the end of our lives!
4. INSTITUTION OF PRIESTHOOD/HOLY ORDERS. Connected with the Institution of the Eucharist, in the context of the Last Supper, was also the Institution of Holy Orders or the Priesthood when Jesus said, "Do this in memory of me." How we should honor the priesthood, pray for priests, support priests, encourage priests, and pray and sacrifice ourselves for future priests (vocations to the priesthood). As the Cure of Ars stated so clearly, " No priest, no Mass, no Mass, no Consecration, no Consesecration, no Real Presence in the Eucharist....We are left as spiritual orphans. In all the important moments of your spiritual life the priest has been present: Baptism, confession, First Communion, Confirmation, Matrimony, Anointing of the sick, and burial---- the priest, there to accompany you on your pilgrimmage to heaven.
5. PROPHECY OF SHEPHERD STRUCK AND SHEEP SCATTERED. This Jesus did at the Last Supper! Jesus, the Good Shepherd, would be struck and taken and the sheep--- His disciples scattered! In moments of trial, we must pray all the more fervently and stay all the closer to the Good Shepherd of our souls.
6. PRESUMPTION OF PETER. Peter blurts out that the others will be dispersed, but he-- Peter-- would be faithful until the end! Jesus makes the prophecy of the cock crowing and Peter denying Him three times! Peter's falls started by presumption and pride. We should never presume that we are strong! On the contrary, we are weakness incarnate! St Paul says, "Be careful while you are standing, lest you fall." Pride comes before the fall!
7. JUDAS' BETRAYAL! Furthermore, Jesus predicts the betrayal of Judas! "What you have to do, do it quickly! Judas took the piece of bread and Satan entered him. He rushed out into the darkness. When we leave Jesus--- the Light of thw world--- then we enter into darkness! Fulton Sheen states that the fall of Judas came about because Judas "fell out of love for Jesus." Our Daily Holy Hour is a certain means to keep the fire-aflame in our love for Jesus. Lord, grant me faithfulness to my Hour of Power/my Hour of loving Friendship with you!
8. FRIENDSHIP! At the Last Supper Jesus calls His Apostles "Freinds". Not simply servants, but truly "Friends". This is a common teaching of Pope Benedict XVI, that all of us are called to establish and cultivate an ever deeper "Friendship" with Jesus. Friends spend time together; they share the same interests; they know each other well--- they even start to imitate each other! May our "Friendship" with Jesus flourish and blossom every day!
9. I AM THE VINE AND YOU AR THE BRANCHES. (Jn. 15) In the context of the Last Supper Jesus uses the image of the Vine and the Branches. He will cut and prune and purify so that we can produce fruit and fruit in abundance. A true follower of Jesus is interested in what He is interested in: the salvation of souls! May our harvest be that of souls!
10. THE PARACLETE/CONSOLER: THE HOLY SPIRIT. In the course of the Last Supper discourse--- Jn 13-- 17-- Jesus consoles the Apostles with the words that He will not leave them as orphans, but He will send "Another", the Paraclete or Consoler. This is, of course, the Holy Spirit. Jesus will ascend on high but he will allow to descend the Holy Spirit and He will teach them all things! We are never alone! "The Sweet Guest of our souls", The Holy Spirit, will be with us always even until the end of time. "Come Holy Spirit, come, through the Heart of Mary!
CONTEMPLATE! Be present to see the Persons-- especially Jesus--- hear the Words, contemplate the gestures and derive much spiritual fruit! May Our Lady of the Cenacle obtain for us all an abundant harvest!