Faith, Fellowship and Fun

Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
Mark 14:12   On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 13 So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16 So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

Mark 14:22   While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Mark 14:26   When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Hospitality is deeply embedded in human nature; to say someone is hospitable is a warm and welcome compliment. It is no accident that Jesus made use of table fellowship to give people a concrete experience of the indiscriminate love and universal compassion of God. When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we experience again that proclamation of the kingdom. Even more, we join our prayer with the prayer of Jesus and the great events of salvation are made present in our time and place. Welcomed as we have been, it is our calling then to show the same love and compassion in our daily lives.

The Lord’s Supper, as an event in the life of the historical Jesus, is both a proclamation of the Kingdom of God and an interpretation of the death of Jesus. In all probability, it was not Passover, but undoubtedly the context of the feast is significant.
Prophetic gestures are common in the Old and New Testaments. By an unusual action, usually with accompanying words, the protagonist illustrates a message so as to shock and attract attention. In the case of Jesus, the action with the bread and wine builds on the Passover symbolism and at the same time is the climax of the open table-fellowship, by which Jesus made the preaching of the kingdom concrete and tangible.

This ‘Last Supper’ is both Passover and Eucharist, a remembrance and a sign of hope for the world. This is the gift we celebrate and give thanks for, every time we gather for Eucharist and in the way we share our gifts, our lives, our very selves with one another.
We are called to ‘give’ and ‘pour out our lives for others. Where in my life can I identify opportunities for service, where I might reach out to a family member, friend or someone in the community whose cup might be empty?


  1. The symbolic gesture of breaking and sharing bread and sharing the cup, that Jesus made at the Last Supper, symbolised the offering of himself that he would make on Calvary, giving his life for others.   Sometimes we also are called to give our lives for others.  We can do this grudgingly or with a generous heart.   What difference has it made for you when you were able to give yourself freely?
  2. In his encyclical letter Deus Caritas Est Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is essentially fragmented”.  What has helped you to be aware of the importance of the link between the Eucharist and your lifestyle?
  3. Jesus involved his disciples both in the preparation for the Last Supper and in its celebration.  Recall times when you had a heightened awareness of participation and involvement in the Mass.  What helped to give you this awareness?  Are there lessons from these special experiences that you can bring with you to the routine Sunday Mass?

At the time of Jesus Jews all over the Roman Empire gathered to celebrate the great feast of Passover, seeing in it not only a glorious past event but also the promise of a new intervention by God when he would once again act to free them from oppression. It is precisely this understanding that we find in today’s reading from Mark. Jesus’ action at the able is a rite that anticipates his life-giving death. His death on the cross inaugurates a new relationship between God and his people. This is why it is so important for us to ‘do this in memory’ of him. As the new people of God we celebrate our identity when we come together for Eucharist. We give thanks for who we are and all that God has done for us.
However, “to understand the Eucharist we do not need to be experts in theology nor in the rituals of ancient Israel. Jesus left us the symbols of bread and wine as realities that speak to us of nourishment and celebration.”

SEAN GOAN—Let the Reader Understand, Year B
“No one takes my life from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again.”... John 10:18
Lord, a time comes in life when we have to give ourselves as spouses, parents, church ministers, public servants. We have to say to those we serve, “Here, take it, this is my body”; we have to say, “Here, this is my blood, the sign of the covenant between us; I am pouring it out for you and through you for many others.”
Lord, you always seem to send us friends who stand by us in difficult times. We quarrel among ourselves, they let us down from time to time, but the meals we share in times of crisis seal a sacred covenant between us, so that we can leave together for our Mount of Olives.
“Do you really wish to pay homage to Christ’s Body? Then do not neglect him when he is naked. At the same time that you honour him here with hangings made of silk, do not ignore him outside when he perishes from cold and in nakedness. For the one who said, ‘This is my body’ also said ‘When I was hungry, you gave me nothing to eat.'” ... John Chrysostom
Lord, remind us always that when Jesus tells us “Take it, this is my body” he is also speaking of the poor whom we meet on our life’s journey, and when he says, “This is my blood which is to be poured out for many,” he is also speaking of those who suffer innocently today.
MICHEL DE VERTEUIL—Lectio Divina on the Sunday Gospels, Year B


Sociological studies point out with hard facts that Christians in Western countries are giving up Sunday Mass. The structure that the celebration of Mass has acquired over the centuries is no longer capable of nourishing the faith of people or bringing them to bond with the community of Jesus.
Inevitably these questions must be asked:
Does the church at the centre need an experience of a livelier and culturally adapted supper of the Lord than the present liturgy provides?

Are we so sure that we are doing today what Jesus wished us to do in memory of him?

Is the liturgy we have been repeating for hundreds of years the best way to help believers live what Jesus lived in that unforgettable supper in which is concentrated, recapitulated and manifested what he lived and died for?

Is it what can draw us to live as his disciples at the service of the project of the kingdom of God?

Today everything seems to be working against the reform of the Mass. Yet reform seems more necessary than ever if the church wishes to live in vital contact with Jesus. It will be a long journey. The change will come about when the church feels an urgent need to remember Jesus and live by his Spirit. For that, even now, it will be most responsible not to absent ourselves from Mass, but to contribute to the conversion to Jesus Christ.


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