In the name of the Father, of the Son
and of the Holy Ghost.
We hear week after week the Lord saying,
‘Do this in remembrance of Me’, and we always apply these words, and
rightly so, to the celebration of the Last Supper, to the breaking of
the bread, to the sharing of the cup, to the holy meal which Christ had
with His disciples.
And we are right to do so because it was
the prefiguration of the Banquet of the Lamb, of the great feast of
eternity, because all of us we have been created by God in order to be
His companions for eternity; and a companion is one who breaks the bread
with us, who is received at the host's table, who is made an equal to
his host by this law of hospitality and of love.
And the Last Supper was this; Christ
broke the bread and shared the cup, He made His disciples unto His
companions and, as this bread and wine were Him, He united His
companions to Himself in an unspeakable way to be one body and one life.
But the words which Christ told, ‘Do
this in remembrance of Me’ do not apply only to the last Supper, to the
holy and divine Liturgy which we celebrate. What He was doing in the
Upper Room was also an image of what His life and death were. The
breaking of the bread was the breaking of His body, the sharing of the
cup was the shading of His blood, and what was signified in the last
Supper was the Garden of Gethsemane with the anguish and the horror of
the coming death upon Him Who was free of evil and yet chose to share
with us our destiny of dereliction and mortality, and of Calvary, the
actual dying for the salvation of others, — more than this: the dying of
their death so that they should share and possess His life.
And if we are to take in earnest what we
do here, week after week, feast after feast, celebrating the Last Supper
of the Lord, breaking the bread together and sharing the cup, we must
remember that this act makes us one with each other, because we become
so one with Christ, but also that all that is true of the life and the
sacrificial death of Christ must become true for us and in us. We must
so live as Christ lived for others, we must so die as Christ died, that
others may live. We must so ascend from life into this sacrificial
generous life-giving death as Christ did, and this lays upon us a heavy,
a stern and glorious responsibility.
Let us take it earnestly, because
otherwise our celebration is empty of meaning. We cannot come day after
day and ask Christ to let us become partaker of what happens in the
Upper Room if we accept to be estranged, to be alien to what it stood
for His life, His incarnation, His teaching, His facing the coming
death, His dying our death that we may live.
Let us think about it and reconsider all
our relationships with others, rethink all our attitude to those who are
around us. Do we live for their sake? Is our life an offering? Are we
like the Apostles of whom Paul spoke in today's Epistle, like men sent
in the last times to bring a witness of love and pay the cost for it, so
that life should be theirs, should belong to those who surround us
whether they love or hate us, and death should be ours, the death of
Christ, sacrificial, holy, an offering of love, brought not only to God,
but to each person who needs it. Amen.