Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Bread of Affliction: A Meditation on What Jesus Endured at the Last Supper
Archdiocese of Washington ^ | 04-01-15 | Msgr. Charles Pope

Posted on 04/02/2015 8:32:52 AM PDT by Salvation

The Bread of Affliction: A Meditation on What Jesus Endured at the Last Supper

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

James Seward L Supper

The Last Supper is, strangely, a sad study in the kind of affliction the Lord had to endure from His own disciples. Of all the meals the Lord must have shared with them, this was the one that should have gone beautifully and perfectly; it did not. From one moment to the next the blows just got worse. There were inept responses, distractions, bullheaded debates, and rebukes directed against Jesus … and then of course betrayal. It was nothing short of a disaster. The ineptitude would be almost comical if it weren’t so sad. If ever the Lord needed His disciples’ attention and understanding, it was at the Last Supper. But to a man, they let Him down. There was squabbling, misunderstanding, argumentativeness, and betrayal, all packed into one evening.

I am mindful that the unleavened bread Jesus took in His hands that evening was called “the bread of affliction.” Scripture says, You shall eat [the Passover]  with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste—that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt (Dt 16:3).

Indeed it was an evening of affliction! It was so awful that one could hardly have faulted the Lord for saying, “That’s it, Father. I’ve had it with them; I’m coming straight home!” Praise God that He chose to stay and die for the likes of us. And further, He takes this “bread of affliction” we dish out to Him and lifts it to the glory of the Sacrament of His Body and Blood.

Lest we be too critical of The Twelve, remember that we are often like them in many ways. Indeed, they are we and we are they. And the Lord loved both them and us to the end.

So on Holy Thursday, let’s examine the sequence of events at the Last Supper. It illustrates pretty well why the Lord had to die for us. We will see how earnest the Lord is about this Last Supper, how He enters it with an intense love for His disciples and a desire that they (we) heed what He is trying to teach them. We shall see, however, that they (we) show forth a disastrous inattentiveness and a terrible lack of concern for the Lord.

Here, then, are the movements of the Last Supper. Watch how things begin with the loving and careful attentiveness of the Lord and end with a selfish, inept, and unloving response from the Apostles (us?).

  1. COMING CLOUDS – Jesus knows that His hour has come; this will be His last meal. Judas has already conspired and been paid to hand Him over. Scripture says, Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come. He always loved those who were his own, and now he would show them the depths of his love. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over (John 13:1). Thus in the gathering storm Jesus plans His last meal, which will also be the first Holy Mass. He instructs His Apostles to prepare the meal: He sent two of his disciples, and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the householder, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us” (Mark 14:13-15).
  2. CARING CONCERN - This last supper was obviously important to Jesus. Luke records the heartfelt words of Jesus: And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15-16). Yes, this was to be a very special moment for Jesus.
  3. COSTLY COMMUNION – Jesus, reclining at the table, will now celebrate the Holy Eucharist for the first time. But this was to be a costly communion. He had already lost many disciples for what he taught on the Eucharist (cf John 6:50ff). After the first consecration, Jesus looks into the cup at His own blood, soon to be shed, and He distributes His own body, soon to be handed over. Yes, this is no mere ritual for Him. Every other priest before Jesus had offered a sacrifice distinct from himself (usually an animal, sometimes a libation). But Jesus the great High Priest will offer Himself; it is a costly communion.
  4. COLLABORATIVE CONDESCENSION – During the meal Jesus rises and then stoops to wash the disciples’ feet. He instructs them to see in this action a model for those who would collaborate with Him in any future ministry. John records it this way: He rose from the supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded (John 13:5). Jesus then teaches the Disciples: Do you know what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you (John 13:12-15). Just moments from now, we will see them demonstrate a complete disregard for what Jesus has just tried to teach them. Now things get bad.
  5. CALLOUS CRIME- Back at table after having taught them that they must wash one another’s feet, Jesus suddenly becomes troubled in spirit and says, I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me (John 13:21). This causes a commotion among the Apostles, who begin to ask, “Who can it be?” As the anxiety around the table builds, Simon Peter motions to John and says, “Ask him which one he means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he [John] asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. “What you are about to do, do quickly” Jesus told him (John 13:24-30).
  6. CONFOUNDING COMPETITION – But as Judas takes the morsel of bread and heads out into the night, no one even tries to stop him! Despite the fact that Jesus has clearly identified His betrayer, no one rises to block the door or even utters a word of protest! Why not? Luke supplies the answer: A dispute arose among them as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest (Luke 22:24). They should be concerned about Jesus’ welfare but instead they debate which of them is the greatest. How confounding and awful! Yet is that not our history? Too often we are more concerned with our own status and welfare than with any suffering in the Body of Christ. So much that is critical remains unattended to because we are concerned with our own status, position, comfort, and welfare. Jesus had just finished teaching them to wash one another’s feet, but in an amazingly inept response, they end up arguing as to who among them is the greatest. Jesus patiently reminds them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves (Luke 22:25-27). Meanwhile, due to their (our) egotistical ineptitude Judas has escaped into the night.
  7. CAUSTIC CONTENTIOUSNESS – Jesus continues to teach at the Last Supper. At this moment He surely wanted to impress upon them His final instruction. How He must have longed for them to listen carefully and to deeply internalize what He was teaching! Instead, all He gets are arguments. Both Thomas and Phillip rebuke Him. John records this outrage: Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” But Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him. So Thomas rhetorically rebuked the Lord by saying, in effect, “We have NO IDEA where you are going; when will you show us the way?” Jesus answers, but Phillip will have none of this promise to see the Father and boldly says, “Lord, show us the Father, and then we shall be satisfied.” Jesus, likely saddened at all this, says to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:1-9) His own Apostles are being argumentative and contentious. They are caustic and seem to rebuke the Lord. This supper isn’t going so well!
  8. COMIC CREDIBILITY GAP – Undeterred, Jesus embarks on a lengthy discourse (recorded by John) that has come to be called the priestly prayer of Jesus. At the end of it, the Apostles remark, perhaps ironically, perhaps with sincerity, Ah, now at last you are speaking plainly, not in any figure! Now we know that you know all things, and need none to question you; by this we believe that you came from God (John 16:29-30). But Jesus knows their praise is hollow and will not withstand the test. There is a great credibility gap in what they say, so much so that it is almost comical. So Jesus replies, Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave me alone (John 16:31-32). Peter protests, saying, Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away. Here is another almost comic credibility gap. Jesus says to Peter, Truly, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times. Still insistent, Peter replies, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples (John 16:33-35). Well, you know the story, and you know that only John made it to the Cross. Their credibility was, by this time, a dark comedy.
  9. COMPASSIONATE CONSTANCY- But you also know the rest of the story. Jesus went on and died for the likes of them (us). I wonder if He had some of this Last Supper in mind when He said to the Father, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.” It is almost as if to say, “They have absolutely no idea what they are doing or thinking, so have mercy on them, Father.”

What a grim picture of us the Last Supper was! A disaster, really. But the glory of the story and the saving grace is this: the Lord Jesus Christ went to the Cross anyway. Seeing this terrible portrait of them (us), can we really doubt the Lord’s love for us?

May your Holy Thursday be blessed. I hope you will attend Mass and the Last Supper/First Mass will be made present to you. Never forget what Jesus endured!



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; holyeucharist; holyorders; holythursday; holyweek; lastsupper; msgrcharlespope; sacraments; thelastsupper
The video is a portrayal of the Last Supper. I cannot get the url for it.
1 posted on 04/02/2015 8:32:52 AM PDT by Salvation
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Monsignor Pope Ping!


2 posted on 04/02/2015 8:35:09 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

I really like the painting. A much more realistic representation than most of what a meal in Biblical times would have really looked like.


3 posted on 04/02/2015 8:52:05 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

Here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItcURbkjXOA


4 posted on 04/02/2015 8:52:21 AM PDT by carriage_hill ( Some days you're the windshield, and some days you're just the bug.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Salvation
REFUSE
5 posted on 04/02/2015 8:53:18 AM PDT by baddog 219
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: baddog 219

Rather Jesus by His last supper, agony in the garden, passion, death, and ressurection WILL, and HE WILL, OVERCOME the HATRED of this world.


6 posted on 04/02/2015 8:56:14 AM PDT by Biggirl ("One Lord, one faith, one baptism" - Ephesians 4:5)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

a great Holy Thursday reflection, thank you!


7 posted on 04/02/2015 8:56:23 AM PDT by xsmommy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

Excellent article. One of Msgr. Pope’s best.


8 posted on 04/02/2015 9:23:07 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Be afraid only of thoughtlessness and pusillanimity." ~ Pope John Paul II)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: carriage_hill

Thanks.


9 posted on 04/02/2015 9:38:34 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick; GregB; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; Ronaldus Magnus; tiki; Salvation; ...

Ping


10 posted on 04/02/2015 10:42:56 AM PDT by NYer (Without justice - what else is the State but a great band of robbers? - St. Augustine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
HOMILY OF BENEDICT XVI [Holy Thursday- "The Theological Einstein of Our Times" ] [Catholic Caucus]
The Bread of Affliction: A Meditation on What Jesus Endured at the Last Supper
The significance of Holy Thursday [Catholic Caucus]
On the Holy Thursday foot washing: “It didn’t exclude women until 1955…”
The Sign We Give
The Fourth Cup
If you want a Scriptural analysis of the washing of feet mandatum, here it is
How Should We Understand Pope Francis Washing Women's Feet?
Pope Francis’ sermon for Mass of the Last Supper at Rome’s juvenile prison

'I do this with my heart,' Pope says before washing inmates' feet
The Birthday of the Chalice (Maundy Thursday)
Young Inmates Eager for Holy Thursday Mass With Francis
The Fourth Cup
The Last Supper and the Forgiveness of Sins
Benedict XVI’s sermon for Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
The Mandatum of Love (meaning of Maundy Thursday/Holy Thursday) [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
The Significance of Holy Thursday
Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper
A Christian Passover Seder for Holy Thursday (or tonight)

The significance of Holy Thursday (institution of the Eucharist and priesthood)
Holy Thursday: The God who Washes Feet
Holy Thursday and the washing of the feet [Mandatum]
The Hunt for the Fourth Cup
Great and Holy Thursday [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Maundy Thursday, Holy Thursday, Shire Thursday
Holy Thursday
Maundy Thursday
HOMILIES PREACHED BY FATHER ALTIER ON HOLY THURSDAY IN 2004 AND 2005.
Paths to Rome: Washing of Feet on Holy Thursday

Washing of the Feet on Holy Thursday And More on Days of Abstinence
Reflections for Maundy Thursday: The Carrying of the Cross
Past Not Over (Why Passover is the most widely observed holiday.)
The Chrism Mass
Celebration of a Family Seder Meal
Washing the Feet of Men Only on Holy Thursday
ALTAR OF REPOSE - Catholic Liturgy for Maundy Thursday
Catholic Caucus: Maundy (Holy) Thursday
The Fourth Cup: The Sacrament of the Eucharist [Holy Thursday] [Passover]
Holy Thursday - When the moon is full
"> The significance of Holy Thursday [Catholic Caucus]
On the Holy Thursday foot washing: “It didn’t exclude women until 1955…”
The Sign We Give
The Fourth Cup
If you want a Scriptural analysis of the washing of feet mandatum, here it is
How Should We Understand Pope Francis Washing Women's Feet?
Pope Francis’ sermon for Mass of the Last Supper at Rome’s juvenile prison

'I do this with my heart,' Pope says before washing inmates' feet
The Birthday of the Chalice (Maundy Thursday)
Young Inmates Eager for Holy Thursday Mass With Francis
The Fourth Cup
The Last Supper and the Forgiveness of Sins
Benedict XVI’s sermon for Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
The Mandatum of Love (meaning of Maundy Thursday/Holy Thursday) [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
The Significance of Holy Thursday
Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper
A Christian Passover Seder for Holy Thursday (or tonight)

The significance of Holy Thursday (institution of the Eucharist and priesthood)
Holy Thursday: The God who Washes Feet
Holy Thursday and the washing of the feet [Mandatum]
The Hunt for the Fourth Cup
Great and Holy Thursday [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Maundy Thursday, Holy Thursday, Shire Thursday
Holy Thursday
Maundy Thursday
HOMILIES PREACHED BY FATHER ALTIER ON HOLY THURSDAY IN 2004 AND 2005.
Paths to Rome: Washing of Feet on Holy Thursday

Washing of the Feet on Holy Thursday And More on Days of Abstinence
Reflections for Maundy Thursday: The Carrying of the Cross
Past Not Over (Why Passover is the most widely observed holiday.)
The Chrism Mass
Celebration of a Family Seder Meal
Washing the Feet of Men Only on Holy Thursday
ALTAR OF REPOSE - Catholic Liturgy for Maundy Thursday
Catholic Caucus: Maundy (Holy) Thursday
The Fourth Cup: The Sacrament of the Eucharist [Holy Thursday] [Passover]
Holy Thursday - When the moon is full

11 posted on 04/03/2015 6:25:44 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson