It was over 50 years since Jesus took his place at table with the apostles for the Last Supper. At the time, Tiberius was emperor at Rome, Pontius Pilate the governor of Judea and Herod the tetrarch of Galilee (Luke 3:1). Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests (3:2). Later that night, in the courtyard of their house, Peter denied so much as knowing Jesus (22:54-62). The following morning, the opportunity to hear Jesus brought Pilate and Herod together. Weakness and contempt became friends that day (23:12).

The world had changed since then. Tiberius, Pilate, Herod, Annas, Caiaphas, the apostles and even Peter, were long gone. Jerusalem lay in ruins, smashed to the ground (see 19:41-44) and trampled underfoot (see 21:20-24). Even the temple was destroyed–with not one stone left upon another (see 21:5-6)–as was the house of the high priest along with the dwellings of the very rich overlooking the temple area from the western hill.

But throughout the world of Paul, in what are now Syria, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, Christians (Acts 11:26) assembled to do what Jesus did the night of his Last Supper. They took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to one another, saying, "This is my body, which will be given for you." They also took the cup after eating, pronouncing it the "cup of the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you." They did this in memory of Jesus the Christ, who died and rose that all might live (22:19-20; see also 9:16; 24:30).

Dining In The Kingdom Of God
Eugene LaVerdiere, S.S.S.

Reprinted from Witness Ministries, a lay apostolate dedicated to renewing appreciation for the Mass as the greatest gift which God has given to His beloved spouse, the Church. Their mission is to show how, in the Eucharistic Liturgy, Jesus renews and transforms us–and the world–in His life and love