Today is Holy Thursday, the day we recall the Last Supper - which was actually the first supper in terms of the institution of the Eucharist. It was also the time of the institution of the Christian priesthood.
In his encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Pope John Paul II told us about how Baptism and the Eucharist are linked through Jesus' body, how the Eucharist brings his followers closer together, and how the Eucharist gives us the capacity to take Jesus to those who do not know him:
22. Incorporation into Christ, which is brought about by Baptism, is constantly renewed and consolidated by sharing in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, especially by that full sharing which takes place in sacramental communion. We can say not only that each of us receives Christ, but also that Christ receives each of us. He enters into friendship with us: “You are my friends” (Jn 15:14). Indeed, it is because of him that we have life: “He who eats me will live because of me” (Jn 6:57). Eucharistic communion brings about in a sublime way the mutual “abiding” of Christ and each of his followers: “Abide in me, and I in you” (Jn 15:4).
By its union with Christ, the People of the New Covenant, far from closing in upon itself, becomes a “sacrament” for humanity,39 a sign and instrument of the salvation achieved by Christ, the light of the world and the salt of the earth (cf. Mt 5:13-16), for the redemption of all.40 The Church's mission stands in continuity with the mission of Christ: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Jn 20:21). From the perpetuation of the sacrifice of the Cross and her communion with the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, the Church draws the spiritual power needed to carry out her mission. The Eucharist thus appears as both the source and the summit of all evangelization, since its goal is the communion of mankind with Christ and in him with the Father and the Holy Spirit.41
Perhaps most comforting to me is the pope's statement: "We can say not only that each of us receives Christ, but also that Christ receives each of us. He enters into friendship with us: 'You are my friends' (Jn 15:14)."
Let us enter into the Upper Room this night, being received by Christ as we receive him, finding solace and strength in his friendship.
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