Easter Sunday – I am the Bread of Life

I am writing this post on Good Friday night from my familiar office space at Our Lady of Peace Parish, Erie.  The church is stripped; the tablernacle empty.  The Holy Water has been properly disposed of.  The Eucharistic Presence of Jesus is temporarily housed in our sacristy.  The Holy Thursday Mass and the Good Friday service have been offered.  The Thursday evening vigil with the Lord has past.  The Passion has been read, and the Cross venerated.  Tonight is a quiet night, before Saturday’s busy preparations for Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. 

Consider this: no Masses have been offered anywhere on the face of the Earth today.  Not a single priest, consecrated to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass, has made that offering today.  Yes, we received Communion today if we went to the Good Friday Service, but that is a distribution of hosts that were consecrated on Holy Thursday.  Why are there no Masses on Good Friday?

While I have not read the ancient manuscripts to come up with this answer, I offer my own understanding, which I am sure is close to the “official” Catholic reason why.  Here it goes:

No priest need offer the Eucharist today because we recognize that Jesus, the High Priest, has offered the one sacrifice for sins on the Cross.  Our abstaining from Mass today (as well as all other sacramental celebrations – except anointing and confession) is a recognition that Jesus’ Cross is the source of sacramental power.  By focusing on the Cross, we understand that Jesus is the One True High Priest, who has offered the Sacrifice for sin with His own Blood.

Jesus offers His blood on the Altar of the Cross, which draws all people, Jew and Gentile, to Him, and glorifies His Father in Heaven (John 12: 27-32).    His Blood speaks more elequently than that of Abel, who was also killed by his brother (Hebrews 12: 22-24).  Jesus wears the Seemless Garment to the Cross, as all High Priests of the time wore seemless garments (John 19:24).  Jesus has truly consecrated Himself that He might make One Visible Church, His Body in the world (John 17:17-23).  He has fulfilled the prophecy with His Blood, and now the members of His Church can be forgiven of sin, and live forever (Isaiah  53: 10-12).  From His side flow blood and water, and the Church is born from His side (John 19:31-35).  Jesus is the High Priest.  The offerings of ordained priests renew daily this sacrifice and keep it a living sacrifice in the Church.  Could Jesus’ sacrifice be anything else but a daily, living one? 

No Mass need be celebrated today, because today, we realize that today is the source of our redemption.  We give thanks!  Sunday, the second part of this act of salvation will be accomplished, when Jesus rises from the dead.  Jesus is Risen, today and forever!  Thus, the bread we eat from the hands of priests is the Sacrifice for our Sins, and the Bread of Life.   

 I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (John 6: 51)

Believe it.  And if this Eucharist is truly important for you, open yourself to a vocation to the Priesthood. 

Happy Easter!

P.S. All are welcome to Our Lady of Peace Parish on Sunday, May 1st for the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday, celebrating the Beatification of John Paul II!  Confessions and Adoration start at 1:45; service starts at 2:30.   

We also rejoice in the ordination to Diaconate for Mr. Brandon Kleckner on Saturday, April 30th.  Brandon will be ordained to the Priesthood in June, 2012.  Pray for him.  Congratulations, Brandon!

Pray also for our St. Mark Seminarians as they celebrate St. Mark’s Day, their Patronal Feast Day, on Sunday, May 1st.  Seminarians, we are proud of you!

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About erievocations

I am a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, PA. I am an Assistant Vocations Director, tasked with the promotion of seminary recruitment. My blog deals with discernment of vocations, especially to the priesthood, as well as our universal call to be holy.
This entry was posted in Holidays and Vocations, The Eucharist and Vocations. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Easter Sunday – I am the Bread of Life

  1. p160 says:

    Do you understand the 4th Cup?

    After the beginning of Jesus’ Last Passover Supper (Seder) Judas Iscariot left to do what he had to do. The twelve left in the room were at the point where the second of four traditional cups was about to be drunk.

    (The first is at the beginning of the Seder meal.) Jesus took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.”

    More of the lamb meal was consumed. During that He took a loaf of unleavened bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to His disciples saying, “This IS my body given for you; do this to recall me.” (“Recall” is a better translation of the Greek “anamnesis” than “remember”.)

    After the supper He took the third cup saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This IS my blood of the NEW and everlasting covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    A hymn was sung, which is a combination of several psalms called The Great Hallel, and they went out to the Mount of Olives.

    What happened? The Passover ceremony and ritual was not complete. There was no fourth cup. There was no announcement that it was finished. Could it be that Jesus was so upset with what He knew was about to happen that He forgot? Doubtful!

    Not only Jesus, but also the 11 others had participated in the Passover Seder every year of their lives. No, this was done on purpose. The last supper of Jesus was not over.

    On the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples slept while Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.”

    He prayed that three times. Then Jesus was arrested, illegally put on trial by the Sanhedrin, then by Pontius Pilate, sentenced and crucified.

    While on the cross He wept. Jesus, who was in excruciating agony, was so merciful that He prayed for the forgiveness of His executioners. He was offered some wine with a pain killer, myrrh, in it. He refused it.

    “Later, knowing that all was now complete, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled and the kingdom established, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.‘” A man dipped a sponge into sour wine; he placed it on a hyssop branch and lifted it up to Jesus lips.

    He drank. (We recall that it was the hyssop branch which was used to paint lambs blood around the Hebrew’s door for the Passover of the angel of death.)

    It was then that Jesus said, “It is finished.” He then bowed His head and gave up the spirit to His Father.

    The fourth cup now represented the lamb’s blood of the first Passover, a saving signal to the angel of death.

    The Lamb of God was now sacrificed. The last Passover supper of Jesus Christ was now complete with the fourth cup. It was finished.

    The tie in with the Passover is unmistakable.

    The Lamb of God was sacrifice and death was about to be passed over come Easter day.

    The promise of eternal life for many was about to be fulfilled.

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