“Jesus celebrated the Passover without a lamb — no, not without a lamb: instead of the lamb he gave himself, his Body and his Blood. Thus he anticipated his death in a manner consistent with his words: ‘No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord’ (Jn 10:18).” — Pope Benedict XVI
Our Lord’s Paschal Mystery (his suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension) is the heart of the Christian faith. “Paschal” comes from the Hebrew word for passover (pesach). In many ways the Last Supper is like a Passover meal. There are prayers of blessing, the offering of bread and wine, the celebration of covenantal love of God … yet there’s one key difference. In the Last Supper, there’s no offering of a lamb. As we observe the Eucharist now, there’s no lamb sacrificed. Jesus is our lamb, the one true lamb, whose blood takes away the sins of the world. The Israelites spread the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes and the angel of death passed them by. The blood of Christ, poured out on the beams of the cross, anoints our hearts, claiming them as the dwelling place of God.
LET US PRAY
Jesus, you are the lamb of God, offered to free us from slavery to sin and death. May I grow in understanding of your sacrifice and love for the great Paschal Mystery whenever I gaze upon you, present in the Eucharist. Amen.
PRAYER TO THE EUCHARIST
O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption. Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
-Collect for the Feast of Corpus Christi, composed by St. Thomas Aquinas