Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Thursday 2011

1) The Last Supper precedes the Paschal meal. According to John, Christ is crucified the day whose evening is the Paschal Feast itself. He is killed at the same time as the lambs are sacrificed in the Temple. Benedict affirms the Pasch to take place on Friday that year [what year?]. Hence, the Crucifixion had to take place on Thursday, and the new Paschal Meal (Christ's Last Supper which now became the paschal meal), perhaps took place on Wednesday. At the last supper, there could not be any lamb since Christ's death coincided with the slaughter of the lambs, He clearly being the Lamb of the Paschal Meal, and his Blood the warding off of the Avenging Angel. See "Jesus of Nazareth" II pp. 106-115.

Scott Hahn follows Annie Jaubert's acceptance of the two calendars: "I find the supposed conflict between the synoptics and John is resolved to my satisfaction by Annie Jaubert, The Date of the Last Supper (Staten Island: Alba House, 1965). She argues two calendars were operative in Christ’s time and accepts the ancient Syriac testimony of a "Holy Tuesday" institution of the Eucharist. Granted, there are difficulties in that, but her work helps harmonize the five trials of Jesus (Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod, and Pilate), which fit much easier into a Tuesday to-Friday time frame than in a Thursday-midnight-to-morning frame. She also published an article arguing that even John’s account of the upper room shares a paschal background, "The Calendar of Qumran and the Passion Narrative in John," in J. Charlesworth, ed., John and Qumran (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1972), 62-75. I have read criticisms of Jaubert’s thesis, but I don’t feel much force behind them; for a popular summary of the alleged problems, see Raymond Brown, "The Date of the Last Supper," in The Bible Today Reader (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1973), 322-28.]

2) The Washing of the Feet: Recognizing that Christ is indeed Master and Lord, Peter did not want Him to wash his feet. But, Benedict says, "Jesus has to help us recognize anew that God's power is different, that the Messiah must pass through suffering into glory and must lead others along the same path" (Ibid 70).

3) The Blood of Christ: We want His Blood to be upon us because it is not the Blood of Abel that cries out to heaven for vengeance but the Blood of the real Paschal Lamb that will ward off the destruction of the Avenging Angel for the family (The Church).

4) The Bread and the Blood: Given and poured out "for us." The "pro-existence" of Jesus Christ. Here is the totality of the mind of Benedict XVI: "Recent theology has rightly underlined the use of the word 'for' in all four accoutns, a word that may be considered the key not only to the Last Supper accounts, but to the figure of Jesus overall. His entiere being is expressed by the word 'pro-existence' - he is there, not for himself, but for others. This is not merely a dimension of his existence, but its innermost essence and tis entirety. His very being is a 'being-for.' If we are able to grasp tis, then we have truly come close to the mystery of Jesus, and we have understood what discipleship is" (Ibid. 143).

5) "Bread of Life" "Life" for the Eucharist in the new-testament Greek is Zoe. It means trinitarian life as opposed to Bios and Psyche that is created-non transcendent life as biological/psychological.

Therefore, in the context of having the same mission as Christ ("As the Father has sent me, I send you" [Jn. 20, 21]), the Eucharist is the food and affirmation enabling the human person to make the gift of himself that completely transcends him without this supernatural reality to power and sustain him. In that light, consider the following remarks of Benedict XVI:

Benedict XVI:
“What does it mean, to receive the Lord? That is never just a physical bodily act, as when I eat a slice of bread. So it can therefore never be something that happens just in a moment. To receive Christ means: to move toward him, to adore him. For that reason, the reception can stretch out beyond the time of the Eucharistic celebration; indeed, it has to do so. The more the Church grew into the Eucharistic mystery, the more she understood that she could not consummate the celebration of Communion within the limited time available in the Mass. When, thus, the eternal light was lit in the Church, and the tabernacle installed beside the altar, then it was as if the bud of the mystery had opened, and the Church had welcomed the fullness of the Eucharistic mystery. The Lord is always there. The church is not just a space in which something sometimes happens early in the morning, while for the rest of the day it stands empty, ‘unused.’ There is always the “Church’ in the church building, because the Lord is always giving himself, because the Eucharistic mystery remains present, and because we, in approaching it, are always included in the worship of the whole believing, praying, and loving Church.

“We all know what a difference there is between a church that is always prayed in and one that haws become a museum. There is a great danger today of our churches becoming museums and suffering the fate of museums: if they are not locked, they are looted. They are not longer alive. The measure of life in the Church, the measure of her inner openness, will be seen in that she will be able to keep her doors open, because she is a praying Church. I ask you all therefore from the heart, let us make a new start at this. Let us again recollect that the Church is always alive, that within her evermore the Lord comes to meet us. The Eucharist, and its fellowship, will be all the more complete, the more we prepare ourselves for him in silent prayer before the Eucharistic presence of the Lord, the more we truly receive Communion. Adoration such as that is always more than just talking with God in a general way. But against that could then rightly be voiced the objection that is always to be heard: I can just as well pray in the forest, in the freedom of nature. Certainly, anyone can. But if it were only a matter of that, then the initiative in prayer would lie entirely with us: then God would be a mental hypothesis - whether he answers, whether he can answer or wants to, would remain open. The Eucharist means, God has answered: The Eucharist is God as an answer, as an answering presence. Now the initiative no longer lies with us, in the God-man relationship, but with him, and it now becomes really serious. That is why, in the sphere of Eucharistic adoration, prayer attains a new level; now it is two-way, and so not it really is a serious business."

[1] . Ratzinger, “God is Near Us,” Ignatius (2003) 89-90.

No comments: