Our Gospel for this feast is as well, set around a celebrational liturgy. It begins with a picture of preparing for the Passover, which recalls the blood of the Passover lamb being sprinkled on the door posts of the Israelites to keep them safe from the final plague in Egypt. It seems that Jesus made reservations for a certain “upper room” and the disciples are shown the place and begin the setting for something new coming through the old.
We hear Mark’s account of the “institution narrative”. Jesus and His disciples are recalling the great and wonderful events of the Exodus or coming out of slavery as well as the destruction of Pharaoh’s pursuing troops. The story is related with many symbols and in various forms and within the celebrating of their national past, there is a meal with unleavened bread and a raising of cups of wine, all recalling who they are and who God is for them. It is a celebration of life.
In our Roman Catholic tradition we celebrate the New Passover with great reverence for the former from which we all share. The very person of Jesus is a most wonderful gift to and for our humanity. He was really present physically as a gift from the Infinite Giver. The Giver was revealing something of the Giver to this world, the receiver. The receiver-world is asked to say “Amen!” to what the Giver is saying about us all, the “many”. As Jesus was physically offered to the emptiness of the womb of Mary, and offered to the “many” while on earth, He continues being offered as a gift from His father to us. He is as present in His offering to us as He was to these disciples surrounding Him in this Gospel narrative. In His body we are remembered and reunited to each other as a sacred experience. We are reminded as we celebrate our being freed from our slaveries, that we are being brought into a sacred life, because we believe all that the Giver has said about us and who we are, because of the body of Jesus whose blood is the source of our new Passover life.