Deacon's Corner: Do we truly believe the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ? Part VI
July 7, 2024, 12:00 PM
Most scholars consider the Last Supper as a Passover celebration. In the Passover meal, traditionally there are four cups of wine, each with a special meaning. It seems likely Jesus and His disciples drank the first three cups. The third cup is the one Jesus blesses and gives to His disciples. Normally, there would have been a hymn and the fourth cup. Instead, Matthew writes, “When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matt 26:30). They sang the hymn, but had no fourth cup, which Jewish writers often call “the cup of thanksgiving” or “the cup of consummation.” Instead of the fourth cup, they all head to the Mount of Olives and Christ’s agony. Now move ahead to Christ on the cross. John writes, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was finished, said (to fulfill the scripture), ‘I thirst.’ A jar full of sour wine stood there; so, they put a sponge full of the wine on a hyssop and held it to His mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, He said, ‘It is finished’ and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:28-30). Many assume Jesus was speaking of His saving work being “finished”, but the Paschal Mystery does not end on the Cross. It ends with the Resurrection. Could it be that the sour wine Jesus drinks on the Cross is the Passover’s fourth cup? This is the new and eternal covenant. Jesus extends the Covenant, sealing it with His own blood. St. Paul writes, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. (1 Cor 11:26). Now you know!