Blog # 319 Catholic Theology # 6
THE CRUCIFIXION AND THE LAST SUPPER
The physical crucifixion of Jesus occurred at a certain hour of a certain day in the history of creation. The death of Jesus had a human dimension to it. As such it was the same as the death of all seven billion human beings alive on earth today, all those who have gone on before us, and those who will follow. It occurred but once. It was final. It does not occur physically again. What makes that death infinitely different and unique in the history of creation past present and future is the fact we have, in the eternal Word of God incarnate on earth and in Jesus one person, human and divine.
The Word of God can be said to have experienced the death of Jesus on Calvary in some mysterious way beyond our comprehension as incarnate in the real human flesh of Jesus .
To experience a second such physical reality would take a second instance of an incarnation of the eternal Word in other human flesh than that which was conceived in the womb of Mary thirty years or so on the calendar before the death of Jesus, and which physically died on Calvary once and forever in the case of Jesus.
Jesus did the will of the Father always and everywhere. ( Jn. 8: 29). Normally it was the will of the Father that Jesus think speak and act in the same way and with the same limitations that all human beings normally experience. He got hungry and thirsty. He grew tired. He wept over the death of His friend Lazarus . He enjoyed fishing with His friends and disciples. He loved His mother and St. Joseph. From time to time, however, the will of God was for Jesus to act and speak as God , healing a crippled man, giving sight to the blind, and calling Lazarus back from death to life.
Now, with regard to the crucifixion and the event of the Last Supper, we are going to see something similar. The genuine human act of dying on the part of Jesus on the Cross was to occur once and for all on that occasion. Having experienced the finality of physical death He could not experience it again without a miracle of some kind. Such a miracle has never been revealed to us. In the Scriptural account of His death, His death is revealed as final. It is clearly revealed that in His resurrection Jesus rose from the dead!
On the occasion of the Passover Supper with His Apostles on the evening before Jesus
died on the Cross, the Father's will has Jesus, as GOD, lay aside the limits of time and space that captured the crucifixion event within the few hours of a particular calendar day. This will permit Jesus, during the Passover Supper, to produce the same event that occurred on Calvary, on the evening before it occurred physically on the following calendar day! He will take bread and say of it "This is my body given for you". He will take wine and say "This is my blood poured out for you." Those same words could easily serve in a description of the sacrificial event Jesus experienced on Calvary the following day, body given, blood poured out. The same love, the same worship offered by Jesus on Calvary was the same love and worship offered at the Passover Supper!
I think of this like the case of a dollar bill. We normally think of it as paper. But the same value present in a paper dollar bill is present in a different mode when we have four quarters, ten dimes, five dimes and ten nickels, or any one of many other possible combinations. The paper is missing but the value is the same. In a similar way with Good Friday and Holy Thursday the love and worship is the same though the physical scourging and blood of Calvary is presented in a different mode. We know this is true in the same way as we know the event of Calvary is true, by faith.
We have another instance of Jesus always and everywhere doing the will of the Father. It was another instance when Jesus was to speak and act as God and as man. A genuine act of sacrifice was accomplished in the bread and wine now transformed by Jesus into His flesh given and His blood poured out. The TOTAL LOVE of WORSHIP Jesus Offered the Father physically on the Cross He offered Sacramentally in the name of all humanity on the evening before He died!
The command of Jesus "Do this" at the Last Supper is precisely what qualifies the Holy Eucharist to be among the list of the seven Sacraments defined as outward signs instituted by Jesus to give Grace.
Down through the years, and possibly light years remaining in the history of creation, the worship offered our Creator on Calvary and at the Last Supper will be offered Sacramentally again and again in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in many languages on altars throughout the world!
That is how much God loves us all! That is what gives full impact and power to His command to the Apostles before He ascended into Heaven, and in His identity as Head of he Church throughout the world today, and until it is accomplished, to preach the Gospel to every creature.
Thank You, Lord!