“I have given you a model to follow…”

The hour of Jesus’ agony has begun. We have gathered here tonight, as in an upper room, to commemorate our most sacred ritual of the Last Supper commingling with the sacrifice of Calvary.

Here on our Altar, Christ will be sacrificed and the Eucharist once again placed at the center of the cosmos. For Christ willed that His sacrifice be continually present as a sign of authentic unity. The Eucharist is one and the same time Christ’s sacrifice and the Church’s sacrifice, because through It Christ unites the Church with His redemptive work and invites the Church to share in His suffering.

It is important for us who gather here in this holy place, to assume a personal attitude of offering. We cannot just listen or watch these ritual actions. We must engage the mystery by placing on the priest’s paten, our suffering, our difficulties in living out the virtues and our sins. And with our lives shared with Jesus, we partake in the victory won by Him over evil in the world.

When the words of consecration are breathed upon the sacred elements in this Ritual Act of the Mass, love triumphs over hatred, holiness succeeds over sin selfless joy conquers selfish pleasure.

The Eucharist is stronger than all the evil in the universe because Jesus offers Himself freely as a gift to His Father. Isis might feel victory in martyring Christians but we are triumphant ones through the very blood shed in the Name of Jesus.

This night above all nights, Christ in His Body, as an example to His Apostles, knows what is to happen and accepts Divine Providence out of love. In this way, the Eucharist becomes an act of freedom and communion at once with the Triune God and the Church.

Our presence here tonight and our engagement in the Mystery that is God assures our place on the Cross, the only way to victory over sin. If we do not allow the Eucharist to transform our lives, we create for ourselves a state of bondage and alienation, risking the loss of our souls and the souls of others.

The love of Christ in this Sacrament enlarges our capacity to love and moves us to more sincere and credible acts of charity, because Holy Communion is Jesus living within us, it is also Jesus waiting to be discovered in others.

If we respond to His Love, if we let this Divine Sacrament purify our hearts of all worldly attachments, Jesus will make us stronger and more determined to love Him.

He will help us understand the meaning of true love and His desire not only to love us but also to be loved by us. He will teach us to see into the depths of our brother’s heart, with humility and self-effacing compassion.

As Christ comes tonight to overcome evil with good, so we too, nourished by this Sacrament, will learn with our reception of holy communion, that the charity of Christ is strong enough to reach out and embrace even our enemies, strong enough to conquer them, turning them from enemies into friends.

“I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should do also.”