by Jose Kurian Puliyeril
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 22:14-30
Passover is one of the most important festivals of the Jews. It is needless to explain the context of the first Passover of the Israelites while they were captives in Egypt. As advised by Lord God, (Exodus 12:14) the children of Abraham, generations after generations used to celebrate the memorial of the deliverance from the plague every year. As the Israelites had marked their doors with the blood of the sheep, the angel exempted their houses from the smiting of the Angel on the first born.
Many of us have a serious confusion about the Passover. As we also celebrate the Passover every year during the Holy Week, many of us doubt that the services on Maundy Thursday are a sort of continuation of the Jewish Festival. We are giving importance to the Passover because the sacrament of Holy Eucharist was established by our Lord God for the salvation of the faithful on the very day. So it doesn't mean that the Holy Eucharist on Maundy Thursday is the same meal of the Passover. We should not forget the importance of the meal taken by the Israelites prior to their exodus to the Promised Land. (Refer Exodus 12:11) We should not forget the fact that the food they had taken before their tedious exodus was good enough to keep them without food and drink for days together. But after a few days, when they came into the real wilderness, they all felt the need of food and drink. And in the desert they got the bread (Manna) and the meat of the quails.
Our Lord established the Holy Sacrament of Holy Eucharist as a means to enter into our lives, so that we could maintain a co-existence with our Lord God. Lord Jesus was so sure that no one will hesitate to intake the normal food and that is why he selected the ordinary bread and wine as the Holy mysteries for the Holy Eucharist. Science teaches that the normal food turns into the life giving blood immediately after the process of digestion. This is what is happening when we would partake the Holy Eucharist. As the substance is of normal food, it turns as the blood, the life giving blood of our Savior and slowly it mixes the blood in our veins. Using liquor is forbidden by the Holy church because as and when one might use it, the same gets mixed with our blood in our veins. As a faithful's blood contains blood of Lord Jesus, how he could mix liquor to it? We must realize the seriousness.
Our Lord's flesh and blood will enable us to attain everlasting / eternal life. As God is Holy, He could remain in holiness only. That is why the Holy Church is insisting that we all must retain holiness in us prior to receiving our Lord's flesh and blood. We are supposed to have real confession with real repentance, so that our heart and minds will be clean and clear.
Lord Jesus took the bread in His hands, blessed it and broke it and shared among those who were around him. Let our Lord and Savior take us also in His hands, let him bless us, break us and serve us for His greater glory. Let us submit ourselves to Him. Our Lord took the cup in his hands and said "it is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you." In 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 we read, "the cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread."
We must spend more time to study about the way in which our Lord likes to save us and to keep us in His dwelling. Our Lord is prepared to accept us and to forget and forgive our faults (kadangal) and sins. But are we prepared to accept His great offer? Are we prepared to humble ourselves and repent reasonably? Let us make use of the opportunities available and let us pray for the entire universe and the entire mankind.
May God bless us all.
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