“My appointed time draws near.” (Matthew 26:18)

We are only two days away from Good Friday. Each year this bitter­sweet occasion moves us to focus on the injustice, humiliation, and the suffering that Jesus endured. At the same time, Jesus’ death can cause us to rejoice as we focus on all the blessings that flow from his cross.

When Jesus said that his appointed time was fast approach­ing, he was preparing his disciples for the sacrifice he was about to make for them—and for all of us. He was preparing them for the Last Supper, when he would tell them— and all of us— “Do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19). He was prepar­ing them for the time when his body would be sacrificed on the cross and when his own flesh and blood would become the bread of life and the cup of salvation.

Brothers and sisters, the Eucharist that Jesus was preparing for is not an aspirin. It’s not a vita­min pill. It’s not something we just swallow and then hope it works. It’s much more like a precious gem or a bar of gold. It is the most valu­able treasure in the entire world. It is God’s presence in us. It is the Bread of Life, which unites heaven and earth.

Money, possessions, a good job, even a wonderful spouse—none of these can compare to this gift. When we talk about the Eucharist, we are talking about God giving everything he has, his whole self, to us. He has given us something we do not deserve. He has given us something we have not earned, a gift we can never repay.

Soon we will be commemorating Jesus’ death on the cross. His time is near. So as you prepare your heart today, let your meditation show you how this very sad moment in history is also a joyful moment because it is the greatest gift God could ever give. And every time you “do this” in his memory, remember too how deeply he loves you.

“Jesus, show me how your death has brought me life. I want to take hold of all your grace as I prepare to enter the holiest days of the year. Help me to experience the power of your resurrection in my life today.”

Isaiah 50:4-9;

Psalm 69:8-10,21-22,31,33-34