Thursday, October 20, 2011

Crazy Love

When the hour came, Jesus sat at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer... And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood" (Luke 22:14-15, 19-20).

Crazy Love 
Jesus says he has "earnestly desired"—or in another translation, "longed"—for this Last Supper with his disciples. Why? He gives himself as food and drink to them; what does he "get out of it"? All the benefits are theirs.
      It can only be love.
      At this Passover meal, he will establish a “new covenant”—a covenant in the Old Testament usually required a blood sacrifice. In this new covenant, Christ offers himself as a living sacrifice—a total gift of self: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. This gift at the Last Supper, moreover, is a pledge to enact this sacrifice in his Passion and death on the Cross. When you think about it, it’s really astounding that he should “long” for this Supper!
      He has longed for it only because he loves them. He has been with them these three years and longed to give them the abundant graces available in himself in the Eucharist. He longs to see them become the saints the Father has created them to be. He loves them and wants to be united with them in this sacrament.
The Bigger Picture
This longing began with the Fall and extends to all people of all time. The communion between God and man had been broken since Adam and Eve. He loved mankind so much and so deeply, that he longed for this Passover because he longed to restore communion with us and to restore grace in us. He longed to make this sacrifice for us, not because he longed for suffering in itself—in fact, we know from his agony in the garden that he dreaded it. Rather he longed for the effects of his sacrifice, namely, our salvation and sanctification. He established the disciples as priests and bishops so as to extend this gift throughout the ages. Even to today . . . even to me and you.
Little Ol' Me? 
We know, at least in theory, how infinite the Lord’s love is for us. And yet how often we forget and seek something or someone else to fill the aching void in our hearts. This Scripture passage can help us better to grasp the reality of this truth. How incredible must his love be that he would long to give himself to each person, no matter how unworthy. That he would actually long to sacrifice himself for us! And how wonderful that he longs to be united with each one of us.
It's all about love
That’s what the Last Supper was all about—love and teaching his followers how to love: the washing of feet; the long, beautiful discourse on love; and most of all, the gift of himself in the Eucharist. What an example of pure love: completely selfless and total, nothing held back.