The Luminous Mysteries

Slide to Adjust font size
Font Size
100 rem
Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary
(Recited on Thursdays)
1st Luminous Mystery- The Baptism in the Jordan
2nd Luminous Mystery- The Wedding at Cana
3rd Luminous Mystery- The Proclamation of the Kingdom
4th Luminous Mystery- The Transfiguration
   Background- The Events of Holy Week
5th Luminous Mystery- The Institution of the Eucharist

The Baptism in the Jordan

A prefiguration of Jesus Passion and Death
“This is my beloved Son (Ps 2:7) in whom I am well pleased ( Is 42:1, Mt 3:17, Mk 1:11, Lk 3:22).

Our Father
Jesus began his life as the Lamb of God. Now as He begins his ministry, John the Evangelist makes us aware that Jesus is accepting his role as the Lamb of God: God’s suffering servant. (HM-1)

John the Evangelist begins his gospel with creation references: “In the beginning was the word [Jesus] and the word was with God and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” ( Jn 1:1-5). John is affirming the divinity of Jesus and setting the stage for the new creation that is brought about by Jesus. (HM-2)

John, the Evangelist, introduces John the Baptist and his mission to prepare for the coming of the Messiah (Jn 1:6-27).   ... “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light but came to bear witness to the light. The true light, that enlightens every man, was coming into the world." (Jn 1:5-9).

John exclaims: “I am the voice of one crying in the desert; make straight the way of the Lord.” ( Is 40:3, Mt 3:3, Mk 1:3, Jn 1:23).“I have baptized you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” ( Mt 3:11). (HM-3)

Despite protests of his own unworthiness ( Mt 3:4), John baptizes Jesus in the Jordan. ... Jesus’ baptism is his acceptance and beginning of his mission as the Lamb of God, God’s suffering servant. He has accepted this baptism of death for the remission of sins. Afterwards a voice from Heaven announces: “This is my beloved Son ( Ps 2:7) in whom I am well pleased ( Is 42:1, Mt 3:17, Mk 1:11, Lk 3:22). (HM-4)

John bore witness to him and cried, “This was He of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks before me, for He was before me.” ( Jn 1:15). The heavens were split apart (just as at the beginning of Moses’ Exodus the Red Sea was split). + John testifies: “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain on him.” ( Jn 1:32, Lk 3:21). Isaiah had said of the Messiah: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.” (Is 11:1-2). John proclaims Jesus is the Son of God since He is the one on whom the Spirit descended (Jn 1:34). The dove is not just the symbol of the Holy Spirit, but for the Jews it is also the symbol of safety, hope, peace and future as it is used in Genesis 8 (Gen 8:8-12) indicating that Noah had arrived safely on dry ground. Its descending on Jesus is also an indication of his status as King of Israel. + (HM-5)

In this heavenly manifestation, occurring at Jesus’ baptism, is instituted the sacrament of Baptism. The Trinity is manifested: the voice of the Father is heard as the Spirit descends upon the Son.(HM-6)

John the Baptist is baptizing in the Jordan proclaiming a baptism of repentance. Seeing Jesus, as He approaches, ... John cries out: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”(Jn 1:29). John the Baptist makes a prophetic statement that refers to Jesus as a sacrificial lamb, and that acknowledges Jesus as the Suffering Servant. (HM-7)

Jesus’ Baptism marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and events surrounding Jesus’ Baptism are recorded in all four Gospels. Peter and his brother Andrew, James and his brother John were disciples of John the Baptist. John the Evangelist tells us that Andrew and another disciple (James or John?), were with John the Baptist when Jesus walked by (Jn 1:35-36). In addition, Simon, Jude, and James the less were cousins of Jesus and may also have accompanied Jesus, a new rabbi who has just become of age and may now begin his ministry, as He went out to see John.

Already in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, John the Evangelist has made it very clear that Jesus is Divine (Jn 1:14); Jesus is the Messiah (Jn 1:41); Jesus is the Son of God (Jn 1:34); and Jesus is God’s sacrificial lamb (Jn 1:29,36). (HM-8)

John the Baptist is a Levite. Like Samuel, Jesus is not a Levite. Brought by adoption into order of Levi, Samuel became a priest with Eli’s laying on his hands. Jesus became a priest with John’s laying on of hands. Jesus has his priesthood not of the order of Levi but of the order of Melchizedek + (Ps 110:4). ... That priesthood is handed down from father to son: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” ( Mt 3:17, Mk 1:11, Lk 3:22). (HM-9)

Jesus was 30 years old at this time (Lk 3:23). That is the age at which a rabbi could begin his ministry (Nm 4:1-3). Jesus began his ministry with a 40-day retreat in the desert where He was tempted by the devil ( Mt 4:1, Lk 4:1). (HM-10, GB, OMJ)

Reflections on the Baptism of Jesus

A foreshadowing of his baptism unto death
Like their mothers, Mary and Elizabeth, Jesus and John were associated in the plan of God. John had a specific role to play as the forerunner announcing the arrival of the Messiah and proclaiming a baptism of repentance. By the hand of John, Jesus is baptized in waters that symbolize his upcoming death, and as he rises from the water, the Spirit descends and the Father’s voice is heard echoing across the Jordan. This mystery of Jesus’ baptism offers a glimpse of that other baptism he will undergo on the cross—a total submersion into sin and death, two abominations that never should have been, but that man’s free will brought into the world. By this baptism, Jesus is saying that he is ready to take it all on, that he is not afraid of our sin, and that he will do this for us because he loves us. In this mystery, Mary can help us to face our own challenges, especially the ones we fear most. Perhaps it is a long-postponed confession, or an overdue reconciliation with a family member, or an act of honesty about something we would rather leave in the shadows. She can teach us to plunge into those cold waters with the confidence that we will rise again, made stronger and purer by the Father’s grace.

Do little things exceedingly well for love of me.

In the reality of daily living we do little things constantly. But how about the little things of the Spirit: that one step farther, that true smile that comes from the depth of your heart and not only from your lips? When you are numb with tiredness and your body wants only to sit, and suddenly in the crowd you see a sad person, how about that one little touch?

The inner power of the Spirit makes you get up and extend your hand to that person and say, “Good night, sleep well, I will really pray for you. I know without ‘knowing,’ that you are sad.” Suddenly the face of that other person lights up. Then when you get home, don’t forget to “do little things well for love of Me.” Don’t forget to pray, if only a little: “Lord, I don’t know her name, but you know her name. Cheer her.” Then you can go to sleep.

That’s very little, but it too must be done well. This mandate is not only physical; that is to say it’s not only that I must arise. It’s deeply spiritual, regarding the hidden life of the Spirit.
The Little phrase is like a misty horizon that under the sun or the fire of the Spirit, extends in depth. Each one of those words calls you until the end of your life. Only when you are laid into the grave will you know the dimension of the road and the country you have traveled. It’s much bigger than the distance between earth and moon, in fact it’s infinite.

For Peace +
John the Baptist baptized Jesus even though He did not need it. Jesus lived his life – the joys, the daily routine, his mission, and sufferings always in the presence of his Father. Tuned precisely to his Father’s will, his baptism was not for himself, a baptism of necessity; but it was rather a necessity for us – that we might follow his Way to the Father. He was giving us the invitation: “Follow Me.”

Peace of heart is the result of applying love in all of our relationships; with God, others, and even the natural world. Love when applied in our daily life draws the Holy Spirit. He is the one who brings peace.

You can do little to make the whole world peaceful, but you can BE peace in your small part of it. St. Seraphim of Sarov said: “Attain Peace and you will save a thousand around you.” Peace opens hearts to God. In this decade of the Rosary I pray that we the baptized, can become peace - like a candle that says: “Follow Me.”

The Wedding at Cana

Remember Jesus’ words: “What is this between you and me?” Jesus won’t refuse his mother!

Our Father
In John chapter 1, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” says John the Baptist. In John chapter 2, the Lamb goes to a wedding feast! John climaxed his book of Revelation, which had already been written, by inviting all of us to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9). In John’s gospel, the wedding feast foreshadows the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. (HM-1)

The transformation of water into wine ... represents the replacement of the Jewish ceremonial washings and symbolizes the entire creative and transforming work of Jesus +

Jesus’ Mother was at a wedding in Cana to which Jesus and his disciples were also invited (Jn 2:2).The typical wedding celebration lasts several days and is hosted by the groom’s family: the groom’s mother was from Cana. Three of the apostles were from Cana: Simon the Canaanite, ... his brother Jude, and Nathanael. A wedding of any one of these would explain why the disciples were invited. Since Mary was at the wedding (not invited like Jesus and the disciples) it is likely she was part of the groom’s family: the wedding is for a relative. ...

Joseph’s brother, Clophas, had 2 sons by his first wife: Simon and Jude. Simon became the 2nd bishop of Jerusalem after his step brother, James, was martyred. + Jude was also known as Thaddeus, “Good Heart”, to differentiate him from Judas Iscariot (Mt 13:55-56, Mk 6:3). The brothers ... were nephews by marriage to Mary and likely one or the other was the groom at the wedding. When Clophas died, Joseph took in Clophas’ family as was the custom among the Jews. Then when Joseph died, it left Aunt Mary as the closest living relative on the father’s side of the groom’s family. ... (Mt 13:55) (HM-2)

During the wedding feast, they ran out of wine. Mary turned to Jesus: "They have no wine." (Jn 2:3).

Jesus replied: “Woman, ... what is this between you and me? My hour has not yet come.” (Jn 2:4).

That sounds like a rebuke to us, but “What is this between you and me?” is a biblical idiom that means: our relationship or this situation is such that you know that whatever you ask me I will do. + It is accepted by Abraham, when he bought the tomb for Sara (Gen 23:15).In John’s Gospel, Jesus’ use of the term “Hour” always refers to the culminating moments of Jesus’ life. Jesus is pointing out to Mary the fascinating connection to his hour: Jesus’ first miracle will turn water into the finest wine while at his Hour He will turn wine into his own blood. Thus, his public life becomes the fulfillment of Moses first miracle of turning water into blood. + Notice also; Mary did not question Jesus but told the waiters to do whatever Jesus said.

This is another example of Jesus’ focus on his humanity. In his obedience to his mother the divine is accomplished through his humanity! (HM-3)

The first of Jesus’ miracles is to turn water into wine, just as the first miracle of Moses was to turn water into blood, (Gen 7:17) so Jesus turns it into the blood of the grape as it called in Genesis (Gen 49:11). Parallels between Moses and Jesus exist throughout Jesus’ life to make it clear to the Israelites [and the rest of us] that Jesus was the Messiah. Moses had said to the Israelites: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren. Him you shall heed.” (Deut 18:15). (HM-4)

God uses the family relationship as a metaphor all throughout the bible. “Prophets speak of God’s relationship with Israel…, comparing it to a marriage (Hos 2:18-20, Jer 2:2, 3:1). Acts of idolatry were also considered in such terms, but rather as adulterous unions.” +

Marriage requires the free gift of oneself to another. It is based on freedom, if either party is coerced in any way it is not a marriage. Love cannot be forced. It must be freely given. It is as close as most of us will be to being like God who is “Love”. (HM-5)

Marital Love is a conscious decision and commitment to work for the happiness of the spouse. It is a decision to place the spouse’s need, the spouse’s happiness, before one’s own. Because we are human and not divine that kind of love requires the two pillars of love: repentance fueled by humility and forgiveness fueled by mercy. The impediment to both humility and mercy is pride. It is pride that prevents us from asking for forgiveness: saying “I am sorry” or even admitting that I was wrong (the only unforgivable sin); and it is pride that prevents us from forgiving. Forgiving: that means forgetting or really “letting go” of past hurts. (To “forgive” but “not forget” is to not forgive.) (HM-6)

Marriage is a covenant relationship: a relationship bound with an oath. Violation of an oath brings a curse. So, if I have taken an oath to put my spouse’s happiness ahead of mine, when I examine my conscience do I consider the times, when I put myself first, as a violation of my oath? Before I go to sleep at night do I think about how I made my spouse happy today? Or do I refuse to think I have done anything wrong?

The spouses are to be so close, that together they are charged to both “create” and nurture new life! In fact, if either party is not open to children it is not a marriage.

God makes covenants with his people. Violations of his covenant, idolatry, God even calls adultery. (HM-7)

Jesus, speaking of marriage, said: “That is why a son leaves his family and the two become one.”(Mt 19:5). The Trinity is one. It is family: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is a reason that the commandment to honor your father and mother immediately follows the commandments that define our relationship with God. Our parents provide the first example of love that we receive: they introduce us to God.

That is why the devil works so hard to destroy the family! The destruction of the family began in earnest with the introduction of contraceptives: introducing the notion that sex is primarily for enjoyment (focus is on self); not for the creation and nurturing of new life + (focus on other). That does not mean that it must be only for the creation of new life but that we must always be open to it. It also means each should be focused on the spouse. Jesus’ attendance and miracle establishes Matrimony as a sacrament. (HM-8)

We have been taught that a sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Jesus to give grace. Grace is that which draws us to God, who is love. The marriage relationship teaches us to love. There we begin to learn that the key is to conquer pride because pride is what inhibits our relationship with our spouse: an outward sign of our relationship with God. God is love (1Jn 4:8). and in his relationship with us, God provides the mercy on his side of the relationship. We need only the humility to seek forgiveness after first admitting that we have need for forgiveness. (HM-9)

Mary said to the waiters: "Do whatever he tells you." (Jn 2:5). That is what Mary continues to say to us: Do whatever He tells you.”

There were six stone water jars, each holding 15 to 20 gallons. Jesus bids the waiters to fill the jars with water, and then draw some out and take it to the chief steward. The chief steward said to the groom: "Every man serves the good wine first but you have saved the good wine until now." (Jn 2:6-10).

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him (Jn 2:11).

Mary asked for wine and Jesus provided the “good wine”. Remember Jesus’ words: “What is this between you and me?” Jesus won’t refuse his mother! Mary would not let the groom be embarrassed by running out of wine at his wedding. She knew what was needed. As He died on the cross, Jesus gave her to us to be our mother. Mary is our most powerful advocate! Invite her to be part of your life.
(HM-10, GB, OMJ)

Reflections on the Wedding at Cana

Who is this man?
The wedding in Cana is the first moment when Jesus performs a public miracle – an act of power that makes people start asking the crucial question: “Who is this man?” Mary is there with him, with her discreet and serene presence. When the wine runs short, she approaches Jesus with an implicit request that she knows will have tremendous consequences: “They have no wine.” Mary knows that if he works this miracle now, their hidden life together will never be the same, that he will leave Nazareth for Capharnum ... and begin his public ministry. It is a sacrificial request inspired by the Holy Spirit, and Jesus acts on it because he perceives the Father’s will behind her words. In fact, his hour has come. He works the miracle, and the great mystery of his identity begins to attract attention. In our lives too, there are moments when other people with their needs and requests are actually the voice of God speaking to us, asking us to take a step that perhaps we know will have big consequences. Perhaps the timing is inconvenient, or we would rather not get involved. But that inconvenient request could be God’s way of imploring us to step into an important mission in his plan. In this mystery, Mary can gain us the grace to “do whatever He tells you.”

Love, love, love, never counting the cost
I barely dare to touch that because, speaking for myself, I have counted the cost very often. As God knows, I have cried out, “Lord, that is impossible!” To love means to surrender to every situation, no matter how horrible and impossible. To love means to surrender to every person, no matter how terrible or obnoxious. It means to stand naked with the naked crucified Christ in the market place where people may spit at you or push you.

But doing this has the power to make the other surrender to God. Our love, when it is without counting the cost, leads the other toward God. Our love makes straight the paths of the Lord. It’s making straight the paths of the Lord with our bare hands and bare feet, sometimes through brambles. Torn and broken, we still keep moving so that other people can follow this little path without being scratched. No matter what the price, we make a road to Christ for the other. It’s life in the Spirit.

There can be no self-pity in the person who makes straight the way of the Lord. No matter how hard it is to love and love and love again, always the Fire and the Wind are there, so you resolutely enter the brambles. Then after you’ve made about six steps, or perhaps only three, a tremendous Wind comes like a tornado and — whoosh! there are no brambles, for they are torn from the path. All God asks is an act of faith made with love and he will do the rest.

When our heart is open to that Gospel we must preach, a shadow falls over us: Someone Else is walking beside us. Faith brings Christ right next to us. As we surrender to “Love without counting the cost,” immediately we see Golgotha. We hear, “I thirst!” and we understand what love is. Dimly, that is, for who can understand God?

I too am called to accomplish the divine through my humanity
God has a plan. I am part of that plan. When I love I am contributing to that plan. Mary, I would hate to die and discover all the times I had inhibited God’s plan by my failure to love or worse contributed to the damnation of someone. Mary, I know that in the past I have failed miserably to love. I know that in God’s love he has forgiven me. Please beg your spouse to give me fear of offending the Lord so that I seek out opportunities to love and flee from seeking to serve myself.

Through obedience I too am working to accomplish God’s plan. When I am obedient to authority, I am doing God’s will for me. All authority comes from God (Rm 13:1)

For Peace
Jesus works his first miracle at his mother’s request – at a wedding in the little town of Cana. Hospitality was deeply engrained in the culture, and Mary did not want the family to be embarrassed by running out of wine. We also read that this miracle gave Jesus’ disciples such a sublime experience that they began to believe in him - it was as if a page had turned.

Mary’s heart had room for everyone, and so she was quick to ask for Jesus’ help. He told her it was not time, which tells us she was asking for extraordinary action on his part. There were no Circle K stores in that dusty little town. Such an action would begin to unveil his Person and Mission. That is exactly the effect this miracle had on the disciples.

Jesus knew such a miracle would bless some, but offend others – thinking maybe of the Pharisees. Mary’s humble, “Do whatever He tells you”, shows us the confidence she had in him, and in her discernment that it was indeed time.

This miracle initiates a new phase in Jesus’ Mission – one in which the cross was writ large. The Prince of Peace recognizes that peace has a price: it will cost him everything. We who pray for peace must be willing to pay the price of it – the widening of our hearts to include everyone – even THEM.

What is this between you and me, my hour has not yet come.
“What is this between you and me” is a Hebrew idiom that means: You know whatever you ask of me I will do. “ My hour has not yet come” is to remind Mary of the connection to Jesus Passion, “My Hour,” where He will turn wine into his Blood. Thus, completing the parallel to Moses turning water into blood. Jesus turns water into wine (also called the blood of the grape) and then in his hour turns wine into blood. Jesus turned far more water into wine, about 100 gallons, than they would need to finish the wedding feast. Makes one wonder if the left-over “best” wine was actually the wine used during the Last Supper. They were already using Oak Barrels to store and transport wine in Jesus’ time. (Alexander the Great used clay “amphora” while the Romans switched to Oak barrels prior to their conquest of the Greeks.) Jesus as a carpenter may have even made oak barrels. And Jesus did direct the Apostles to a specific house in which to prepare the Last Supper.

The Proclamation of the Kingdom

“What does God require of you but to do right, to love steadfastly, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Mic 6:8)
"The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mk 1:15)
“You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.”

Our Father
Jesus instituted the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick when He sent the 12 out 2 by 2 to announce the coming of the Kingdom, preach repentance, and anoint with oil those who were sick ( Mt 10:6-7, Mk 6:13).

But what is the Kingdom that they were announcing? The Kingdom of God is the Mystical Body of Christ. It is each member fulfilling God’s will in his or her life by participating in the Divine: that is by joining God’s love for creation and for each other; and then by doing what love requires. (HM-1)

The Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, it resides in the spiritual dimension: "My kingdom is not of this world" (Jn 18:36). It is perceivable in the physical world when we surrender ourselves to God and love one another: Our Father in heaven, … may your kingdom come, … [and] your will be done…

"Unless a man is born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven" (Jn 3:5). We need to awaken to the spiritual reality, to begin life anew in the spiritual dimension. In other words: we need to acknowledge the existence of God, a spiritual being, and begin to discover the spiritual reality that we are part of. A reality that also includes both angels and demons engaged in a war between the forces of God and the demons in which we ourselves are the prize, for which they are fighting.

The demons envy us and so they want us to share in their misery, while the angelic forces love us, seeing in us the image and likeness to God, they want us to share in the kingdom of God. The devil knows he cannot win. His objective is to inflict on God as much pain as he can. He does that by turning souls of men away from God. Each soul lost inflicts a hole in God’s heart that will last for eternity.

"Whoever does not accept the kingdom of God as a little child will not enter into it" (Mk 10:15). A child accepts reality with wonder and awe not skepticism. (HM-2)

God can be metaphorically thought of as a farmer and the universe is his farm.  He raises beings in his own image and likeness (Angels and Humans): “God said let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves.” (Gen 1:26).

God is love (1Jn 4:8): since we can love, therefore we are in his image. When we love, we are being like God, we are in God’s likeness.
  • Love requires freedom (free will). Free will allows us to establish our priorities (I can choose chocolate over vanilla).

    • Love is choosing to place someone else before myself. (I choose to give you the chocolate rather than keep it for myself.)

    • A sacrifice is choosing to satisfy another’s need before satisfying my needs.

    • There is a natural priority of needs.

      • Self-preservation (which requires: oxygen, food, water, clothing, shelter, and sleep)

      • Self-actualization or self-fulfillment (which requires: sanitation, healthcare, education, and contribution - work)

      • Socialization (which requires: self-control - politeness, consolation, peace-making, protection, and support)

      • Self-gratification (now we are at chocolate and vanilla)

    • To satisfy a more basic need is a greater act of love: to save a life (the gift of a kidney or bone marrow is better than a gift of chocolate).

    • To give from need is a far greater act of love than to give from surplus. Remember the old woman who put two pennies in the treasury? (Mk 12:41). She put the needs of God’s house before her own survival.

    • There is no greater love than to give up one’s life for someone. (Jn 15:12-13). It is a gift from need, I only have one life, and it is a gift of the highest priority: self-preservation.(HM-3)

    • We are social creatures, so we have many relationships. Love implies a relationship between us and our beloved.

    • We are free to prioritize our relationships. We must have a relationship with God first, and then with our spouse, our family, our community, our country, our animals, our environment. Whom do I serve? Each of these relationships carry responsibilities. Do I live up to my responsibilities? The Jewish notion of righteousness is living up to the responsibilities of our relationships.

    • We cannot love what we do not know. We prioritize our relationships by our quest for knowing. With whom do I communicate?

  • Every Kingdom has laws. The Kingdom of God has two fundamental laws:

    1. Love God with your whole heart, mind, and strength (hence the prioritization of the relationship with God as the highest priority).

    2. Love your neighbor as Jesus loves us. (Jn 13:34) [He gave the highest honor at the Last Supper to his enemy, He gave his life for each of us.] (HM-4)

  • A “value” is a standard of behavior; a judgement of what is important in life. God provided us with an initial set of values: The Ten Commandments ... (Ex 20:2-17, Deut 5 6-21). They were given in priority sequence:
    1. The first group addresses our relationship with God: divine worship (#1-3).
      1. Monotheism.
      2. Respect & honor God.
      3. Acknowledge the primacy of our relationship with God, weekly.

    2. The second group addresses our relationship with those who introduced us to God, to Love (our parents/family) (#4).
      1. Filial responsibility.

    3. The third addresses our relationship to each other (#5-8).
      1. Respect Life.
      2. Respect the Family.
      3. Respect property rights.
      4. Be grounded in Truth: seek the truth and let your yes be yes and no be no.

    4. The last addresses ourselves (9,10).
      1. Sensual detachment (pleasure must not be our goal in life).
      2. Material detachment (material things must not be our goal in life).

  • Every Kingdom has overseers. All authority comes from God (Rm 13:1) and we must obey all authority unless to do so would violate one of the fundamental laws or values of God stated above.
There is no greater arrogance than to presume to do God a favor. When we announce there are too many people or not enough resources, we are really announcing we know better than God! It is our duty to conserve resources and improve production of the food and water supply. It is not however, our place to limit or destroy God’s crop.

As St. John Paul II says: “Everything flows through the family”. It flows through the family because the family is the preferred mechanism for nurturing God’s crops. God is still a farmer! The family is where we first learn to love, and it can therefore be called the school of love. + I am here to grow spiritually: to learn to love. To do that I need the school of love, both as a student and as a teacher.

The media, which attempts to control our values, promotes individualism (self-worship), power (control), fame (“it is about me”), wealth, and pleasure. Contrast that with the values we are given: monotheism (divine worship), surrender (“Thy will be done”), humility (I have been blessed by God”), material detachment, and sensual detachment.

The worst things you can do to a farmer is destroy his crops (murder, war, abortion, euthanasia), render them infertile (birth control, sterilization, trans-gender), destroy the means of nurturing the crops (the break-up of the family), or pollute the crop (promote the media’s value set): it seems our very culture is at war with God! We are truly in a spiritual battle. >Whose side am I on? (HM-5)

We like someone who pleases us, who makes us feel good. We love someone only when we place them ahead of ourselves in our priorities, when we sacrifice for the one we love. We can only truly acknowledge to ourselves that we love someone when we have denied ourselves for the benefit of that person.

We must be careful not to buy back love: when I place someone before myself, denying myself, I can easily buy it back by telling the person or even someone else what I have done. When I do that; I didn’t love, I bought gratitude or admiration with my self-denial. That is why Jesus said: “Don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing” (Mt 6:3).

God gives us children to teach us to love. There is so much a parent does for the children for which there is no return.

When we love (sacrifice something for the beloved) we are like God.

Everyone should re-read the Good Samaritan parable and look at what love cost the Samaritan. Would I make the same sacrifice for someone I don’t know and who holds me in contempt?

The first of God’s commandments is to love God. How can I love God? He has everything! He doesn’t need anything. You can’t love what you don’t know. We have an obligation to get to know God: ask him questions; read the bible and commentaries; read the lives and writings of the saints. All He wants is my love! Think of your relationship with your son or daughter. What joy do you get when your child speaks to you; when he/she thanks you; when they just want to be with you. Think of the joy you get when you see your child imitating you in word or deed. It is in the same way that we can show God our love. We are God’s children. Nothing makes a parent happier than to see the children love each other and love what the parent loves. Conversely nothing pains the parents more than seeing their children be selfish and hurting each other. Love what God loves; all creation and especially each of us! Do you really want to love God, to give Him something? Then undo what the devil has done. The devil(s) attempt to hurt God by turning the spiritual beings that are immersed in a human experience away from God. Jesus even commented on the joy in heaven when a sinner repents: “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous person who need no repentance” (Lk 15:9) and James reminds us: “My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his [own] soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. The only real gift we can give to God is to bring someone, who was lost, back to Him”(Jam 5:19-20).(HM-6)

Scripture tells us that the kingdom is already among us but that God has allowed the enemy to put his followers in the world alongside Jesus’ followers [the parable of the wheat and the weeds (Mt 13:24-30), the parable of the drag net (Mt 13:47-50), the parable of the sheep and the goats (Mt 25:31-46)]. Jesus told us what differentiates the two: by their fruits you will know them (Mt 7-16). There are twelve fruits (Fruits of the Holy Spirit): charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, modesty, generosity,and chastity (Gal 5:22-23). ...

In addition Jesus describes in parables those who will be in the kingdom: they are the humble [poor in spirit (Mt 5:3), like little children (Mt 18:3)]; the detached [blessed are the poor (Lk 6:20)]; the obedient [does the will of my father (Mt 12:50)]; the long suffering [hunger and thirst for justice (Mt 5:6)]; the patient [blessed are those who are persecuted (Mt 5:10), who go through many hardships (Acts 14:19-28)]; the generous [feed the hungry (Mt 25:35), clothe the naked (Mt 25:36)]; the compassionate [welcome strangers (Mt 25:36, Heb 13:12), care for the ill (Mt 25:30), visit the imprisoned (Mt 25:36)]; the forgiving [a king and his unforgiving servant (Mt 18:21-35), by the measure you use you will be measured (Mt 7:2), the prodigal son (Lk 15:11-32)]; and those who actually "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." (Mt 5:43-48). Is that me?

We know that we are all connected [the Mystical Body (Jn 15:5-8, Eph 4:4-13)] and that the kingdom grows: spreading just by us being faithful followers [mustard seed (Mt 13:31-32, Mk 4:30-32, Lk 13:18-19) and yeast (Mt 13:33, Lk 13:20-21)]. Just as we have been impacted by many who will never know how they changed us: moving us closer to or away from God; so, we are impacting others. Which direction? (HM-7)

The kingdom is of such great value [treasure in the field (Mt 13:44) and fine pearl ( Mt 13:45-46)] that it behooves us to leave everything (Mt 19:21, Lk 5:11), not looking back (Lk 9:62); once we are committed to God’s Kingdom. (Our possessions have us: the more we have the more we are consumed. Think of the time you spend taking care of your clothes, your yard, your house, and your car.) Am I ready for commitment?

I am here on earth to grow and mature spiritually to prepare myself for birth into the full participation in the spiritual dimension. Why should I focus on anything that I can’t take with me at my birth into the spiritual dimension?

God created the heavens and the earth. The devil and his minions created hell. God who is love created all that is good. (HM-8)

We are free to choose to love God and all his creation: to participate in the Divine by joining God’s love for creation. We join our love with God’s just as parents, in their love for each other, join in their love for their children. (HM-9)

When we love, we allow the indwelling of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit within our hearts. Where there is love, there is God. Theosis is union with God. We participate in the divine (are united with God) when we choose to do whatever Love requires. We pray: “Thy Kingdom come”. It comes when I begin to live the new commandment: “Love one another (Jn 13:34); when my focus shifts away from myself toward others. That means living up to the responsibilities of my relationships: to God, spouse, family, community, and environment. “They will know you are my followers by the way you love one another (Jn 13:35).”

Heaven is the Kingdom of God! Through our death, we follow Jesus on his Exodus: into his kingdom. Can anyone recognize me as Jesus’ follower? (HM-10, GB, OMJ)

Reflections on the Proclamation of the Kingdom and the Call to Conversion

Response to Jesus’ call
One of the ways that God reaches man is through words. The spoken word—and even the written word that seems to leap off of the page when we read it—has the power to pierce and move hearts. And when that word is full of truth, it has a mysterious resonance in the heart, a kind of magnetic attraction for the soul that is truly hungry for what is right, true, and good. When Christ came to proclaim the Kingdom of God, he made a series of appeals to the heart—invitations to a life of greater poverty, simplicity, honesty, and wholehearted service. Some perceived the beauty of that call and rose up to follow it. Others did not. Why? Perhaps some became entrenched in their own supposed righteousness, so burdened by the need to maintain appearances that they cannot rise up in response to the call. The accessories of success keep them weighted down. Others are so hungry for God, in some cases, so humiliated by life, that they feel entirely free to let go of everything, even their pride. Others are simply pure of heart, focused on what is good and not on self at all. There are so many reasons why some do and some do not follow Jesus, and He alone knows the story of each soul. Where do we stand? What does He see in our hearts? In this mystery, we can ask Mary to show us the way to get closer to that eternal Kingdom where obedience sets us free.

Preach the gospel with your life - listen to the spirit and he will lead you
“Preach the Gospel” doesn’t mean that we be great preachers of Sacred Scripture, or scholars. It simply means that we live it. Here is our greatest difficulty. I speak for myself. Christ said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who hurt you.”

There is absolutely nothing in this world that Christ has not touched simply by saying, “Love God, love your neighbor and each other.” Everything is subject to the immense Gospel of the love of God, who became one of us. Love did that. Out of the little country of Palestine, most of it arid and desert, came light and a solution to every problem from now until the parousia.

But we close our ears to the Gospel. Because, indeed, it calls us to empty ourselves until there is nothing left of ourselves. For us to walk around in the world for a while feeling empty is devastating emotionally! It’s only after a little while that we perceive that Christ is filling us. It’s a sort of death. Those of us who in God’s grace have experienced that for a moment, know that the price of preaching the Gospel is terribly high, intensely high.

Yet into these difficulties comes joy. The difficulties seem hard and they are. The cross of Christ was hard and so is our life. Yet suddenly, through the goodness of our Father, we’re given the Spirit. He enters into our family with a song, with the words of the Father which come to us through his Son. The Holy Spirit has the capacity to crack those words open and to make pleasurable what seemed intolerable.

Suddenly the painful process of growing in faith, emptying oneself, carrying each other’s crosses and identifying with the other is lifted up like a song. Into the ears of our soul come words of the Holy Spirit, that Word of Fire who illuminates and warms. The words of that Wind pick us up and bring us right to the mountaintop without touching the ground. Instead of angels, he himself carries us lest we fall or hurt our feet.

The media defines our culture.
The media feeds us with a set of values by providing examples of beautiful, humorous, charming people who show us they have achieved happiness and success while portraying the values being pushed by the media. When we watch the shows and buy the advertised products we vote with our money on our agreement of the media assessment of values: self-love, money, fame, power, and pleasure!

For Peace
Jesus came to invite us into the Kingdom of God – which in the end means inviting us to be sons and daughters by adoption in Christ – sharing, with him, intimately, the life of the Trinity. Jesus is In the Trinity by nature – we are invited to be WITH the Trinity by adoption. St. Paul teaches us this, and the private prayer of the Priest when he adds water to the wine in the Chalice affirms it: “By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.

The Kingdom of God extends the presence and reign of Christ to the entire creation – everyone and everything in it. When I love God, all of the OTHERS, and the whole created world, I help bring the whole created order to fulfillment. St. Paul says the entire created world groans for salvation in Christ – for wholeness and completion in Christ.

When I love all that God has made, I build the Kingdom. When I retreat into selfishness I diminish the Kingdom. The goal is fulfillment and completion in Christ. The work that gets that done is love. If I really want peace in my heart and in the world, I absolutely have to do the work. In a way, our religion then becomes love, and peace.

Happiness in Heaven
As spiritual beings we are placed on earth to grow and mature spiritually, just as our physical being’s physically grow and then mature.  All growth is painful: does anyone want to go through puberty again?  We are called by Jesus to take up our cross daily and follow him if we are going to mature spiritually.  We can look around and see people who stopped physical maturing because of a tragic event: a loss of a parent or as a child, who was sexually molested or abused, during puberty who is now unable to establish a relationship with a member of the opposite sex. So also, we can stop maturing spiritually, by the pain of love’s rejection or the inability to forgive someone.  We are given opportunities to grow spiritually (crosses to bear) and we will continue to be given crosses to allow us to practice loving. After we die and get to heaven we know we will be as happy as we can be, we know we will be completely happy for all eternity. So, stop for a moment and look at us from God’s point of view: if you place a gallon jug on the table beside a jigger and fill both vessels with water to the point that adding another drop to either vessel will cause it to overflow that drop.  We can see that both vessels are completely full.  Just so our spiritual growth determines the size of the vessel we take into eternity: our capacity for happiness. Which would you rather go into eternity with: a jigger or a 55-gallon drum? It all depends on our spiritual growth!

The Transfiguration

A Prefiguration of the Resurrection and the Kingdom of God

Our Father
“Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Mt 16:28). “And after six days Jesus took Peter, James and John up a high mountain ... to pray.” (Mt 17:1). (HM-1)

Jesus was transfigured before them: "His face became as dazzling as the sun, his clothes as radiant as light." ( Mt 17:1-9, Mk 9:2-8, Lk 9:28-3). (HM-2)

This was to fortify their faith to withstand the coming tragedy of the Passion. Jesus foresaw the scandal of the cross and prepared them for it by allowing them to experience the Kingdom of God; witnessing this manifestation of his glory. (HM-3)

Moses and Elijah (representing the Law and the prophets of the Old Testament) were conversing with Jesus about his exodus from Jerusalem which He was about to accomplish ( Mt 17:1-9, Mk 9:2-8, Lk 9:28-36). (HM-4)

His exodus is another parallel between Moses and Jesus. Moses led the Israelites out of slavery to Egypt in his exodus and took them to the promise land. Jesus leads all of us out of slavery to self and leads us into the Kingdom of God. Moses’ exodus was in the physical realm while Jesus’ exodus is in the spiritual realm. "Do not think I have come to destroy the law or the prophets... but to fulfill them.” ... (Mt 5:17). (HM-5)

In Moses’ Exodus the people were fed with the Manna from heaven and provided water from the rock that followed them throughout the 40 years wandering in the desert. In Jesus Exodus, we are led throughout our physical life to the Kingdom of God. During our journey we are fed with heavenly bread for as we say in the Our Father: “Give us today our daily bread” what was really said by both Matthew and Luke is:
Give us today our daily bread

τόν äρτον ημών τόν έπιούσιον δός ημίν αήμερον
Give us today our day by day bread

τόν äρτον ημών τόν έπιούσιον διδόυ ημίν το καθ ήμεραν
Epiousiosis, έπιούσιον, is the significant Greek word which is only used in scripture in the Our Father. Epi means super or beyond and ousia means substance or nature which should probably have been translated as our super-substantial bread or maybe our heavenly bread. The Eucharist is the manna provided to us by Jesus for our journey to the Kingdom of God, which would be opened with the death of Jesus. Jesus, who according to St. Paul, was the Rock (1Cor 10:4) that provided the water for the Jews during Moses’ Exodus. Likewise Jesus has promised us to be the source of living water during our Exodus.

Jesus’ Exodus began when He died on the cross and continues until He comes again to establish a new earth.

Peter said to Jesus: “Lord it is good that we are here. If you wish I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Mt 17:4)

At that moment from a cloud came a voice: "This is my beloved Son, listen to him." (Mt 17:5, Mk 9:7, Lk 9:35).  (God is making sure we get the point!)  (HM-6)

Peter, James, and John share the experience, so they know it is real! They see Jesus speaking with two men who they understand are Moses and Elijah, both of whom they know to be dead. Jesus admonishes them not to tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man rises from the dead ( Mt 17:9, Mk 9:9). The voice tells them to listen to Jesus! They are receiving a powerful experience that proves that life doesn’t end with death. Jesus is telling them that He will come back from the dead! (HM-7)

The Transfiguration is unique among miracles that appear in the Canonical gospels: the miracle happens to Jesus himself. + St. Thomas Aquinas considered the Transfiguration "the greatest miracle" because it complements baptism and shows the perfection of life in heaven. + (HM-8)

In Christian teachings, the Transfiguration is a pivotal moment, and the setting on the mountain is presented as the point where human nature meets God: the meeting place for the temporal and the eternal, with Jesus himself as the connecting point, acting as the bridge between heaven and earth, the spiritual and physical realms. + Peter, James, and John have seen the Son of man coming in his kingdom (Mt 16:28).  For Peter the Transfiguration is the point at which the “Son of God” becomes “God the Son”.  (Mk 1:1)  +

Am I ready to follow Jesus on his exodus? Jesus’ exodus is through the cross! Jesus even said “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.” ( Mk 8:34-35, Lk 9:23). Taking up my cross means being willing to love even when it is hard. He also showed me as He showed Peter, James, and John that it means life after death! (HM-10, GB, OMJ)

Reflections on the Transfiguration

A prefiguration of the Resurrection
In the Transfiguration, another moment of supernatural light bursts through and shatters the ordinary appearances of business-as-usual. Jesus allows them to see the dazzling light of glory, and to hear the Father’s voice attesting to his Son. If Jesus’ baptism prefigured his Passion and Death, the Transfiguration prefigures his Resurrection into glory. In the shining face of Jesus, the new Moses, the apostles see the glory that will be waiting for them too, once the sufferings of this life are through. Peter wanted to set up tents on the mountain, but he had it all backwards. They were not meant to dwell in that experience; it was meant to dwell in them, as a memory that would travel with them like a torch to enlighten the hard times ahead. In our lives too, sometimes we find ourselves nostalgic for our own mountain-top experiences, wishing we could return to bask in that blissful glow. But like Peter, we’ve got it all backwards. Those moments are given to us as an encouraging memory to spur us on in hard times, as a glimpse of the greater joy that lies ahead of us. In this mystery, Mary can help us remember that no matter how deep and shadowed the valleys—discouragement, depression, confusion, loneliness, anxiety— the light of heaven is real and there is much to look forward to. The best is yet to come.

Jesus wasn’t changed. + At the transfiguration of Jesus, it wasn’t Jesus who was changed. The eyes of Peter, James, and John were opened to allow them to see Jesus as He really is in the Kingdom. They were opened to allow them to perceive the reality in the spiritual dimension as Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah. Lord open my eyes to the spiritual dimension.

Pray always I will be your rest.
He says to us, “Go without fear into the depth of men’s hearts. I shall be with you.” Suddenly this dimly-seen Figure becomes luminously clear and envelops us in his embrace. No matter what state we may be in, if we abandon ourselves we shall rest on his breast as did the apostle John.

Now this is real joy! He will be our rest at all times if only we follow his words. Let us be little, and not too literal. In his infinite mercy, God doesn’t wait until we become perfect in every letter of his Little Mandate. As we put ourselves into what appears to us as the “cold water” of this mandate, he is already our rest, and that also means our strength.

Resting in the arms of God is supreme prayer. Resting in the arms of God is having one’s ears opened by God, and once this happens, our point of view falls apart like a house built on sand. Then we become another house, built on the rock of his love. All this doesn’t happen in a day!

Like him, we must walk in the heat of a Palestinian day. We have to go through everything he did. But we know something that nobody knew in his day. We know that we live in his resurrection, and that he will temper this heat and quiet the wind of our emotional storms and help us in everything, if we let him.

For Peace
Baptism is the beginning of our life in the heart of the church, and Transfiguration in Christ is the fulfillment of that beginning. Jesus’ Transfiguration not only pulled the curtain back, so Peter, James, and John could see as much of the Glory of God as they were able to stand, but also shows the reality of the transfiguration of our own souls – we get an idea of how noble the future of the believer really is in God’s design! It begins to dawn on us that we have too small a vision where God is concerned.

It has been said that Jesus of Nazareth, his divinity hidden beneath a robe of humility, was crucified and buried and that the one who emerged from the tomb in a glorious explosion of light was the Christ – Eternal God, whose Spirit fills the entire universe. Sort of an uncreated big bang! Something not found in creation, but only in the Triune One.

The Christ, the great and holy Other, the one we cannot look upon without falling to the ground – this Lord Jesus Christ is the very one who bends over us like a mother over her child – like a hen over her chicks – like our beloved, who longs for our love and glorification in eternal life. This is the Peace that is beyond all human concepts and understanding. Peace is not passive – the lack of strife – but entrance into the Mystery of God Himself.

The Events of Holy Week

The Events of Holy Week in the year 33, the year Jesus died.
To understand what happened during Holy Week we need to pause our meditations on the Rosary to pick up back ground on the feast of Passover and relate it directly to what was happening in the year 33. It is important to know that Jesus fulfilled Passover in all aspects. The Evangelists didn’t need to go into these details because everybody knew them. Two thousand years later we are missing a lot.

Passover is a family feast. The population of Jerusalem swelled from 200,000 to over 2 million for the period beginning 5 days before Passover to the day following the end of the days of unleavened bread (Shvii Pesach).

20% of the population were Essenes. The Essenes followed a solar calendar developed by Enoch while the rest of the population followed a solar/lunar calendar. While most of the Essenes recognized the legitimacy of the temple and paid the Temple tax they were excluded from animal sacrifices. + Thus the Essene celebration of the Seder meal did not include a sacrificed animal and the corresponding requirement to consume the entire animal.

The other 80% of the population arrived in sufficient time to acquire their lamb; the required 4 days prior to the sacrifice of the lamb.

The celebration events began with Lamb Selection day, then Lamb acquisition day, cleaning day, preparation day, Passover, and on through the seven days of un-leavened bread.

Lamb Selection Day, Sunday in the year 33 AD, Nisan 9, is the day that the high priest goes out of the city and looks over the 100,000 plus unblemished male lambs and picks the finest of the lambs to be the lamb for the sacrifice, that he will offer, on behalf of all the people. He will bring the lamb into the city to joyous shouts of “Hosanna”, “God save us”, and the waving of palm fronds. Thus, the assembled people indicated their acceptance of the High Priest’s selection.

The following day, Monday Nisan 10, is Lamb acquisition day. On that day each household goes out to the fields to the north of the city and selects a lamb for their family group. The lambs must be at least 8 days old and not more than one year old. thus they would weigh from 12 lbs to as much as 100 lbs, (5 to 45 kg.), and must be entirely consumed by the assembled group. So, the objective is not the largest but one that can feed the assembled family with little left over. The lambs will be grossly over priced as they are owned by the Sadducees and are "one-year old" (meaning less than one year old) certified unblemished males. These lambs are taken into the temple where they are paid for and documents are provided that will allow them to be taken into the temple on preparation day for sacrifice.

Then Nisan 13 is cleaning day. The law specifies that all leaven must be removed from the house and sold or destroyed (burnt) and no leaven may be in the house during the 7 days of unleavened bread (beginning on the 15th of Nisan). The 14th of Nissan will be spent cooking so the house cleaning must be done the day before. There were neighborhood bonfires created to burn any of the leaven found to be in the houses during the cleaning. The children assisted their mothers, gathering the leaven found into baskets to take to the bonfire when all the leaven had been found. Removing of leaven from the homes symbolized the removal of sin from their father’s house.

Nisan 14 is Preparation Day. The head of the household took the lamb to the temple for slaughter while the assembled women prepared the meals for the assembled group for two days. No cooking could be done after sunset and the assembled family groups consisted of 60 to 100 people that need to be fed both that evening, at the Seder Meal, and all day the 15th. The slaughter of the lambs began at 3 pm in the afternoon and had to be done by 6:20pm; + so, the lambs could be skinned and roasted before sunset, at 8 pm in Jerusalem that day! Josephus tells us that the lambs were slaughtered in two waves and that a river of blood flowed from the temple, about 50,000 gallons (200,000 liters). Once killed, the lambs are to be roasted. That is trussed up in the form of a cross. For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which are attached the forelegs of the lamb. +

Nisan 15 is technically Passover as the Angel of Death passed over at midnight. Since the day changes at sunset the Seder meal is celebrated on the 15th of Nisan since it is celebrated after sunset. The Seder meals follows a prescribed formula.

Lamb Selection Day: Palm Sunday - March 29th;Nisan 9th (for the Temple Passover)

On the tenth day of the first month of the year (five days before Passover), every family was required to choose a lamb for Passover, according to the instructions given by God to Moses: “Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old (more than eight days old but less than one year old) males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.” (Ex 12:3-5). [A "year-old" male runs from 12 to 100 lbs. (5 to 45 kg.). A 100 lb. (45 kg.) lamb will produce 39 lbs. (18 kg.) of meat. +

Josephus tells us the normal group for Passover consisted of 20 people. He was of course only counting the men (males over 13 years old). So, with 20 males probably 15 are married and each has an average of 4 children (grandparents’ kids are grown so actually the families are larger). You would have 30 parents and 10 teen agers and 46 children for a group of 86 people. They would be eating between 27 and 39 lbs. (12 to 18 kg.) of meat. Figure a ¼ lb. (.11 kg.) for the children (11.5 lbs or 5.2 kg.) and a ½ lb. (.22 kg.) for the teenagers and adults (20 lbs. or 9 kg.) It works out. A small group could consist of 10 (men) but anything smaller had to be combined with another group. All the leftovers had to be burnt. ...

Take care of them (the lambs) until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Care must be taken not to break any of the bones (Ex 12:46).

Jewish historians record that the lambs were brought from the fields of Bethlehem, in the south, up to Jerusalem and through the Northeast gate of the city by the pool of Bethesda, called the “Sheep’s Gate”. Because the flocks of Bethlehem were owned by the Sadducees, only these sheep and goats were allowed to be sacrificed on Passover – for the purpose of filling their coffers. There were so many lambs/goats sacrificed that the flocks were moved back out of the city walls to the fields to the North of the city. Because there were so many people selecting lambs to comply with the instructions from Exodus 12, the lamb that would be offered by the high priest on behalf of the people was chosen the afternoon of the 9th. + The high priest would go out the Damascus Gate into the fields to the north of Jerusalem to select his lamb (the best of all the lambs) for the sacrifice. His lamb was sacrificed for the whole people. The people would wait in the city until he returned with the selected lamb. Then they would wave palm branches and sing out “Hosanna” (God Save us!) as he came into the city. This signified the people’s acceptance of the lamb chosen to be sacrificed for the people.

That day, the 9th, came to be called, "Lamb Selection Day." On that day in Jerusalem, several hundreds of thousands of people would be entering the city so that they would be there to choose their lamb on the following day, the lamb that their family would sacrifice.

In Mark 11, it says Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem from Bethphage, east of Jerusalem. He entered the city through the Golden (Eastern) Gate. The prophet Ezekiel had prophesied that the Messiah would enter through the Golden gate (Ez 43:4). Zechariah says that the Messiah would enter the city riding a donkey and its foal (Zech 9:9) which is also prophesied in Gen 49:11. As Jesus approached the city He was recognized by a group of zealots. They saw the miracle worker fulfilling two Messianic prophecies! They began shouting their battle cry: “Hosanna”; which as stated above means “God Save Us”. They were hoping Jesus, the miracle worker, would be their savior from the Romans. After all Jesus was an established miracle worker and He was coming into Jerusalem through the Golden gate just as Ezekiel had foretold and He was riding a donkey and its foal just as Zechariah and Genesis had foretold.

Meanwhile, Caiaphas had just left the city through the Damascus gate, the next gate to the North and West of the Golden Gate, to select a lamb to be the sacrificial lamb that he would offer for the people. The people were waiting with palm fronds to shout Hosanna (God Save us) when Caiaphas returned with the lamb. Their shouting and palm waving would signify their acceptance of the lamb as the sacrifice for all. When they heard the shouting of “Hosanna” coming from the Golden gate (the next gate to the right) they hurried to the Golden gate, thinking Caiaphas had returned that way. When they saw Jesus, and were told of the fulfilled prophesies, they joined the chorus in the celebration of Jesus, the Messiah!

However, Jesus was not entering the city as a conquering Messiah but rather as the Lamb of God. With their shouting and waving of palm fronds they formally selected Jesus, the Lamb of God, to be their sacrifice on Passover. When Caiaphas returned with his lamb, there was no one to meet him. The people had already selected the Lamb of God!

Jesus, a first-born male, born in Bethlehem in a stable used for the protection of Paschal lambs, inspected by the Levitical shepherds, and found without blemish was offering himself as the sacrificial lamb, on Lamb Selection Day! He fulfilled the prophecies of Zech 9:9 and Gen 49:11 by riding down into the city on a donkey with her colt, through the Eastern gate also fulfilling Ez 43:4. He came as the Lamb who would be sacrificed for the sins of all mankind. +

That evening ... Jesus and his apostles went to a suburb, Bethany, and at the home of Simon the Leper had dinner. Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were present. While at dinner Mary poured expensive ointment over Jesus. When Judas complained, Jesus said that she was anointing his body for burial, beforehand.

Judas surely thought that Jesus had blown it. He came into to Jerusalem amid shouts and jubilation. The people were ready to make him king. Instead He wept over the city and then left going back to Bethany.

Maybe Judas should force Jesus to take action.

Jesus, as God, knew the Jews would reject him and kill him, that had been the plan from all eternity. Jesus also knew the Jews would continue to reject him and that, that was necessary until the time of the Gentiles was fulfilled, (See Romans 11). If the Jews had not rejected Jesus, Christianity would have been just another Jewish Sect and would not have been accepted in the Gentile world. [we are now approaching the time of a “Post Christian world” which implies that the time of the Gentiles has been fulfilled and we will now begin to witness the conversion of the Jews!]

Cleaning Day Monday of Holy Week - March 30th; Nisan 10th; Essene Nisan 13th
The Essene Passover celebration was an un-bloody celebration just as Seder meals are today. The Essenes were not allowed to offer sacrifice in the Temple. Their Passover celebration would begin on Monday with cleaning day, followed on Tuesday as preparation day, with Passover and Unleavened Bread on Wednesday. The Essene Celebration would begin at sunset Tuesday with the Seder Meal.

During Passover, all Israelites were supposed to go to Jerusalem. Jerusalem was normally a city of 200,000. During Passover, the city grew to about two and a half million people of which Josephus says 20%, about 500K, were Essenes. The law of hospitality required that everyone have a place to stay. There were no hotels or motels. There were caravansaries, but they couldn’t handle anywhere near the volume. The visitors joined other families living in Jerusalem. Thus, every home had 4 or 5 additional families joining them for Passover. Most families did not need to join with their neighbors to share a lamb as was specified by Moses. The host family got the lamb on the 10th for themselves and their guests who would be arriving over the next few days. Preparation day (the day before the feast) was consumed preparing food for two days. Unleavened Bread, Nisan 15, was a Sabbath regardless of the day on which it fell. Sabbath rules applied: no fire could be started, and no cooking could be done. All the food to be consumed was cooked on preparation day and so you cleaned the preceding day. Monday, was cleaning day for the Essenes. Thursday was cleaning day on the Temple calendar. Cleaning Day became incorporated into the religious practices. Mom would hide bread crumbs throughout the house and the children would help mom to clean; gathering all crumbs found, while cleaning, into baskets. When mom decided that all the crumbs had been found (the house was clean) the children took the baskets of crumbs to a neighborhood bonfire, so the crumbs could be burned. The removal of the leaven (bread crumbs) from the home by the children stood for the removal of sin from their father’s house.

That year Monday was also the day that 80% of people went to the temple to buy the lamb for the Passover sacrifice. It was the big day for the Sadducees. That day they sold approximately 100,000 lambs at a premium since they were unblemished, one year old, male lambs.

As Jesus came into the city on Monday he passed a fig tree that had no fruit. He then cursed the fig tree. Jesus, like other prophets, used prophetic actions as well as prophetic speech. His cursing the fig tree, the symbol of the Jewish political establishment (the Jewish State), and its subsequent withering showed the Apostles that the Israelite rulers (the fig tree) had failed to do what God wanted – they produced no fruit. Thus, God had cursed their leadership: they and their temple would be destroyed!

When Jesus drove out the money-changers (Mt 21:12-13), the sons of Ananus were apparently among them, if not the most important ones. This money changing business normally took place in the Royal Stoa, but it would appear that, on this occasion [the day every family group had to acquire a lamb for the paschal sacrifice], the market had spilled over from the Stoa beyond the soreg or balustrade into the holy area, and so profaned it. When Jesus in that same passage quoted God’s words: “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Is 56:7, Jer 7:11), he would not have referred to the Royal Stoa, but to the sacred 500 cubit square precinct. + As to Jesus’ accusation that the merchants had made it “a den of thieves”, there is abundant confirmation in the sources of the extortionate prices charged to those who bought sacrificial animals or who needed to change their money to pay the Temple tribute. Who would have had permission to do so inside the area of the soreg, if not the sons of the high priests exclusively. The high priestly family of Ananus was very powerful and Ananus used nepotism to get his sons in the most important offices of the Temple, thereby controlling the Temple treasures as well. The Talmud calls some of these priests “great hoarders of money”. +

Jesus went into the Temple and made a whip. He turned over the money changers tables and drove the sellers out of the temple saying you have made my Father’s house into a den of thieves. Jesus cleaned his father’s house on cleaning day! Jesus was removing the sin from his Father’s house; while the Essene children were removing the sin (leaven) from their father’s homes. Even John’s gospel which describes a cleansing of the temple at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry has Jesus cleaning it on cleaning day in preparation for Passover.

Since the priest, in addition to the money from the sale of the lambs, took a commission from the money changers and sellers of other sacrificial items (wine, bread, oil), cleansing the temple put pressure on the priest to deal with the “Problem of Jesus” who is now both testing the authority of the Sadducees and affecting profits! The people coming from all over the known world were bringing their local currency. Currency that needed to be changed into the temple currency, the shekel, (at a profit).

It can be noted that the first time Jesus cleaned the temple, likely on Temple Cleaning Day, on April 4, 30 AD, was not on the day the lambs were being sold. That first cleaning, while annoying, would not have been a big deal. ...

Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve went to the chief priests and said: “What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from then onwards he began to look for an opportunity to betray him ( Mt 26:14-16, Mk 14:10-11, Lk 22:3-6, Jn 13:2).

The Last Supper Tuesday March 31th; Nisan 11th; Essene Nisan 14th

In one ancient Jewish commentary on the Book of Exodus, Rabbi Joshua, son of Hananiah, who was of priestly descent and had served in the Temple before it was destroyed, says: “In that night they were redeemed, and in that night they will be redeemed [by the coming Messiah].” + In other words, the future redemption [by the Messiah] will take place on the same night as the original redemption: Passover night. Along the same lines, in the ancient Jewish commentary the Midrash Rabbah, God says to his people: “On that very night” [that is, Passover night] “know that I will redeem you”. + And again: “The Messiah who is called ‘first,’ will come in the first month” (Exodus Rabbah 12:42, alluding to Isaiah 41:27). The “first month” of the Jewish liturgical year was the month of Nisan, the month when the Passover was celebrated. All of these rabbinic traditions are apparently based on the fact that in the Bible, the night of Passover is called “a night of watching” (Exodus 12:42). The first Passover was a night of watching for the coming of the destroying angel. In later Jewish tradition, the Passover became a night of watching for the coming of the Messiah and the redemption he would bring. Once again, we find evidence for an ancient Jewish belief in early Christian writings. Saint Jerome, who was arguably the greatest biblical scholar of the early Church (ca. A.D. 400), is well aware of the link between the Jewish Passover and the coming of the Messiah: It is a tradition of the Jews that the Messiah will come at midnight according to the manner of the time in Egypt when the Passover was (first) celebrated. + As we prepare to focus on the Passion of Jesus in the sorrowful mysteries we need to address the elephant in the room: It is not possible that the Last Supper, a Seder Meal, took place on Thursday. It never says that it did in scripture. Consider the following:
  • Jesus said “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Lk 22:15.) The only Seder celebrated in Jerusalem before Jesus died was by the Essenes (20% of the population) on Tuesday night about 30 minutes after sunset.
  • A capital trial could not be started on a Friday as a capital trial required two days and the Sanhedrin never met on the Sabbath.
  • John’s Gospel says Jesus died on Preparation Day. The Seder Meal occurs after sunset after Preparation Day. How could the Last Supper occur after Jesus already died?
  • The body on the Shroud was washed – the blood from the scourging was washed off therefore it was not life blood like the blood from the crown of thorns and the crucifixion. He died on Friday, but He was not scourged on Friday! He did not attend the Last Supper, Thursday, after having been scourged.
  • The Sanhedrin would not have met on Friday, a festival eve – yet three gospels speak of the meeting of the Sanhedrin after Jesus was arrested and before He was condemned by Pilate. He could not have been arrested Thursday night / Friday morning.
  • How would Pilate’s wife have even known that Jesus was before Pilate if Jesus was initially brought before Pilate Friday morning?
  • Mark says Jesus was crucified at 9 am: not enough time for at least 6 trials, scourging, crowning with thorns and still walk to Calgary. Even if we use John’s close to 12 pm there still isn’t enough time.
The solution to the dilemma is provided when we realize that there were two celebrations of Passover every year. + One by the Essenes on their solar calendar and one by the temple calendar. That is what Matthew and Mark mean by the 1st day ( Mt 26:17, Mk 14:12). The first of two celebrations not the first day of a seven-day feast. (There were seven days on which no leaven could be in the house.) The 7-day feast started with the Seder meal and ended with Shvii Pesach 7 days later. Once we accept that the Jesus celebrated his Last Supper on the Essene calendar a lot of things make sense: The apostles didn’t have to eat 4.5 lbs. (2 kg.) of meat: there was likely lamb served but it was not a sacrificed lamb that needed to be consumed or burnt. The Essene celebration of the Seder Meal was a bloodless sacrifice celebrated Tuesday evening after sunset. Now there is enough time for all the events of Holy Week. In fact the early Church commemorated the Last Supper not on the night before Good Friday but on the Tuesday before. + This tradition is preserved in the Syriac sources including the third century Didascalia Apostolorum (Teaching of the Apostles).

Thus, the events of Holy Week are shown:
Day of Week
March 29, 33
Nisan 9, 3793
Nisan 12
Temple Lamb Selection Day,
Jesus enters Jerusalem
March 30, 33
Nisan 10, 3793
Nisan 13
Essene Cleaning Day,
Jesus cleans the Temple
March 31, 33
Nisan 11, 3793
Nisan 14
Essene Preparation Day,
Last Supper, Agony in Garden
April 1,33
Nisan 12, 379
Nisan 15
Essene Passover; Arrest, Ananus’ house, Sanhedrin T1 & T2, Pilate T3 and Herod T4 (T= Trial)
April 2,33
Nisan 13, 3793
Nisan 16
Temple Cleaning Day, Pilate T5, Scourging
April 3,33
Nisan 14, 3793
Nisan 17
Temple Preparation Day, Crowning with Thorns, Pilate T6, Crucifixion
April 4,33
Nisan 15, 3793
Nisan 18
Temple Passover (Sabbath)
April 5,33
Nisan 16,3793
Nisan 19
Temple First Fruits: Resurrection

The Institution of the Eucharist

March 31, 33; Nisan 12, 3793; Essene’s Nisan 15th

Our Father
For the Jews, sacrificed objects needed to be consumed, some by just the priest, and others by those making the sacrifice. What was not consumed by the participants must be burnt. The objective of sacrifice was not simply the killing of animals but the communion of the participants in the offering: the sharing in the consumption of the sacrificed object. God’s relationship with the Israelites is a covenant relationship, a family bond. Families eat together.  The objective of sacrifice was establishing, re-enforcing, or re-establishing the covenant relationship, to allow the participants to “draw near” to God. +

The covenant between the Israelites and Yahweh was given to Moses. It was ratified on Mt Sinai on the Feast of Pentecost.

The Todah is one of the sacrifices of the Israelites, dating back to Melchizedek. After Abraham had defeated the four kings, Melchizedek, a priest of God Most High and King of Salem (Jerusalem), offered a sacrifice of bread and wine, in thanksgiving for the deliverance of Salem and then blessed Abraham (Gen 14:17-18). A Todah is a sacrifice of unleavened bread and wine that is accompanied by thanksgiving hymns and is offered by someone who has been delivered from great peril.

An Aaronite, Temple, priest could only serve from age 30 to 50 whereas the Messiah was to be a priest forever (Ps 110:4). He was to be a priest of the order of Melchizedek (Ps 110:4). That priesthood was passed down from father to son. ... At his baptism Jesus received his priesthood as the voice from heaven announced: “This is my beloved Son (Ps 2:7) in whom I am well pleased ( Is 42:1).”( Mt 3:17, Mk 1:11, Lk 3:22) and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove. ( Jn 1:32, Lk 3:21).

An old rabbinic teaching says: “In the coming Messianic age all sacrifices will cease, but the thank offering [Todah] will never cease.” + “Todah” is the Hebrew word for “thanksgiving”. The word “Eucharist” is from the Greek word “Eucharistia” which also means “thanksgiving”.

The Seder Meal was a special celebration in that it was both a sacrificial meal in which the sacrificed pascal lamb was consumed but it was also a Todah, a thanksgiving sacrifice, of un-leavened bread and wine in thanksgiving for the deliverance that would be provided by the blood of the sacrificed lamb: the angel of death would see the blood and pass over the house, thus saving the first born sons of the Israelites. The Seder meal initiated the Exodus from Egypt. During that physical Exodus of the Jews they were fed with Manna from heaven. The Eucharist is the heavenly bread with which we are fed during the spiritual Exodus initiated by Jesus at his Last Supper, the first Eucharist.

The key to the Seder is the communion in the thanksgiving sacrifice: the Todah. Sacrificed animals could only be sacrificed, killed, in the temple. If you attempted to sacrifice a lamb or any other animal somewhere other than the temple you would be cut off from the people of God. ... So, if you could not get to Jerusalem or you were an Essene and could not sacrifice in the temple, you still celebrated the Seder meal as the Thanksgiving Sacrifice, the Todah. You could and normally would eat lamb at the meal just as is done at Seder meals today. The point here is that the key to a Seder meal is the communion in, the consumption of, the sacrificial unleavened bread and wine, the thanksgiving sacrifice in thanksgiving for the deliverance provided by the blood of the sacrificial, Paschal, lamb!

The synoptic gospels ... all indicate that the last supper was a Passover meal (a Seder Supper). John’s Gospel says that the Last Supper was before the Feast of Passover (Jn 13:1) and that Jesus died on Preparation Day (Jn 19:31). Thus, the Last Supper could not have been a Seder Supper. We now know from the Qumran scrolls there is no conflict: there were two Passovers celebrated every year: by two calendars! + That is what Matthew, and Mark meant by “1st day” ( Mt 26:17, Mk 14:12): the first of two celebrations, not the first day of a 7-day feast.

The Paschal Lamb was consumed (eaten) at the Seder Meal and anything left over was burnt. Thus, the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb on the afternoon of Nisan 14 preceded the Seder Meal celebrated on the 15th of Nisan that same evening. (The date changed at sunset.)

For the Seder Meal to be a dress rehearsal for the Eucharist there must be a Seder Meal before the temple sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb which is the dress rehearsal for the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. For this God utilized the Essenes’ solar calendar. All things come from God, even the calendars. God uses both his lunar/solar (Temple) and his solar (Essene) calendars. (HM-1)
Last Supper Upper Room
Following the Essene solar calendar, the Seder Meal would have been Tuesday evening after sunset. When the apostles asked Jesus where to prepare the Passover meal, He told Peter and John (Lk 22:7) “Go into the city and you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him and say to the owner of the house that he enters: ‘The Master says where is the room for me to eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large upper room furnished with couches, all prepared. Make preparations for us there.” ( Mk 14:12-14, Lk 22:9-13).

The man was easily identifiable since men did not carry water. ... That was women’s work. They followed him to the Essene Quarter, the southeast corner of the city, to a house now called the cenacle, that had been built over the tomb of David.

The Last Supper, a Seder Meal, is on the Essene’s 15th of Nisan as it should be, but that was on the 12th of Nisan by the temple calendar.

The Essenes were not allowed to offer animal sacrifices in the temple because they had different rites for cleaning the sacrificial animals. + The Last Supper was therefore a “bloodless” celebration: there was no sacrificed animal that must be fully consumed, just as Seder meals are today. There was therefore no requirement to consume an entire lamb. Thus, a meal with only the apostles present, as is traditionally held to be the case, is possible. (HM-2)

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” ( Lk 22:15).

  The ritual for the celebration of the Seder + called the Haggadah, is in four parts:
  1. It begins with an initial blessing, the kiddush, spoken over the first, of four cups of wine. Then the eating of the bitter herbs which symbolize the bondage in Egypt.
  2. They then recite Exodus 12, the story of the Exodus, and then sing Psalm 113, the little Hallel. After which they drink the second cup of wine.
  3. The main course is eaten. The lamb and bread are consumed. The third cup is consumed.
  4. The great Hallel is sung, the fourth cup is consumed, and the Nirtzah, a simple statement that the Seder has ended, ends the Seder.

There are two ritual washings between: parts #1 and #2 without a blessing and between #2 and #3 with a blessing. Jesus proclaimed a blessing when He finished washing the feet of the apostles so it would make sense if that before starting #3 was the point at which He washed the feet of the apostles. John also tells us that Jesus returned to the table after washing the apostles’ feet ( Jn 13:12).

During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray him;... Jesus knowing that the Father had put everything into his power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God, got up from 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 dry them with the towel around his waist.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him: “Master are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will understand later.”

Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!”

Jesus answered him: “Unless I wash you, you have no inheritance with Me.”

Simon Peter said to him: “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”

“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so, you are clean, but not all.” He knew the one who would betray him; for this reason, He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So, when He had washed their feet, and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, He said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master’; and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I therefore, the master and teacher, washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example to follow so that as I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, amen, truly, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master, nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you, if you do it. (Jn 13:1-17)

Jesus probably announced that He was to be betrayed after eating the main course but before drinking the 3rd cup. Mark describes it: “As they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said, ‘Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me’” (Mk 14:18) From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe that I Am’. Amen, amen, I say to you, he who receives the one I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.” (Jn 13:19-20)

When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray me.” (Jn 13:22) I do not speak of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘The one who eats my food has raised his heel against me.’(Ps 41:10). Jesus continued: “The son of Man indeed goes, as is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed. It would be better for him if he had never been born.” ( Mt 26:24-25, Mk 14:21, Lk 22:22).

The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. Deeply distressed the apostles began to ask, one after another: “Surely it is not I” (Mt 26:23).

There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom (on his right), one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. So, Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.”

He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to him, “Lord, who is it?”

Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel [sop] and give it to him.”

So, when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. After eating the morsel, Satan entered him. Judas said to Jesus “surely it is not I, Rabbi? Jesus answered: “You have said so.” (Mt 26:25) Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”

Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast” ... or else, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night (Jn 13:21-30)

For the Master to share the sop was a sign of love and deep friendship. Jesus wanted John to know how much He loved his betrayer, despite knowing what he was about to do. He was showing John what it is to love your enemy: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
(Jn 13:34) (HM-3)

When Judas had left, Jesus said: “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and He will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you. I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn 13:31-35).

Jesus reiterated: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friend.” (Jn 15:12-13). Jesus is about to do just that: allowing himself to be tortured and killed so that we can have everlasting life. (HM-4)

It was during that third part that Jesus instituted the Eucharist, He took bread, blessed it and said: "Take and eat, this is My Body." (Mt 26:26). Taking the 3rd of 4 cups of wine (called the “Blessing Cup” (1Cor 10:16) or the “Cup of Redemption”), Jesus said: "Drink from it, all of you, for this is My Blood. This cup is the new covenant in My Blood, shed for you." ( Mt 26:28, Lk 22:20, 1Cor 11:25).  Covenants were made with a blood sacrifice. At this point Jesus is initiating the new covenant spoken of by Jeremiah ( Jer 31:31). The consumption of the bread, Jesus’ body, and the wine, Jesus’ blood, is the beginning of the gift of Jesus’ life for his friends. He has separated his body and blood; offering them as the communion in the new covenant that He is now establishing.

“Do this in remembrance of me.”( Lk 22:19, 1Cor 11:24). [Thus, instituting Holy Orders]. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him." (Jn 6:56).

Jesus said: “I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.” ( Mt 26:29, Mk 14:25, Lk 22:18). Jesus is saying He won’t take the 4th cup until his work is finished. That is: finishing the Last Supper will be his last act before death. The Kingdom comes at his death. (HM-5)

Then Jesus said to them: “All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ ( Zech 13:7).

Peter said to him: “Even though all will have their faith shaken mine will not be.”

Jesus said: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift you all like wheat. But I have prayed that your faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” (Lk 22:31-32).

Then Jesus said to him: “Amen I say to you this very night before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.” (Mk 14:30).

But he vehemently replied: “Even though I should have to die I will not deny you” and they all spoke similarly.

They then sang the great Hallel including:

“What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD … Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his holy ones. O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your handmaid. You have loosed my bonds; I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.” (Ps 116:12–13, 15–17)

This is exactly what Jesus is doing at the Last Supper: he is offering to God the “sacrifice of thanksgiving,” the new “thank offering” (zebah todah). Even more striking, given what He was about to suffer on the cross, imagine Jesus chanting (probably in Hebrew) these words of the Great Hallel on the night he was betrayed:

“Out of my distress I called to the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free … I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. The LORD has chastened me sorely, but he has not given me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. (Ps 118:5, 17–22) +

Normally at this point the fourth cup is consumed, and the Nirtzah ends the Seder. This time it didn’t happen that way.
The Eucharist is a sacrifice inasmuch as it is offered up, and a sacrament inasmuch as it is received.  (HM-6)

It is interesting to note that the original Seder meal, the night before the Exodus, was a thanksgiving offering in thanksgiving for a deliverance that was about to take place. The destroyer had not yet passed over the houses where the Seder supper had been celebrated and the blood of the lamb placed with a hyssop branch on the lintel of the door

The Last Supper, a Seder Supper, was a “Eucharistic”, “Todah”, “Thanksgiving” offering in anticipation of the deliverance that was about to take place after the 4th cup was taken from the hyssop branch on the cross: deliverance by means of the blood from the sacrifice of the Lamb of God via crucifixion. At every Eucharistic Celebration, the sacrifice of Calvary is made present because the Eucharist was finished not in the upper room but on the cross.(HM-7)

Every Eucharist we celebrate is a thanksgiving (Todah) for the deliverance we have received by means of the crucifixion. The Seder Supper which is celebrated by the Israelites in remembrance of Passover is a dress rehearsal for the Eucharistic meal which we share in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice. The Eucharist like the Seder Supper transcends time and is always celebrated in the present. (HM-8)

Jesus has shown us through many Eucharistic miracles + that the bread and wine are truly transformed into his Body and Blood. The most notable of the Eucharistic miracles + are the ones that occurred in: Tixla, Mexico, + Lanciano, Italy, + Buenos Aires, Argentina + , and Legnica, Poland. +

The flesh that was the bread is still present from all four miracles and the blood that was the wine is still present from the Lanciano miracle. The Lanciano, Buenos Aries, and Legnica flesh has been tested and shown to be human heart tissue. The bread from the miracle in Argentina and Poland underwent testing at multiple independent laboratories and all labs reported that it was human heart tissue from someone who had been tortured. The flesh from Argentina was also shown to be “living” heart tissue! Four of the five samples + show blood type AB positive + The fifth wasn’t typed. AB positive is the same blood type that is on both the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium! ... (HM-9)

The ritual of the Seder meal prescribes a very specific set of prayers and actions. Paul makes a point of telling us that it was the Blessing Cup, the third cup, that Jesus consecrated and then we are told that they sang a hymn (Mk 14:26). The full Hallel ( Ps 113 to 118)was sung right before the fourth cup of the Seder Meal. Then they left! Jesus and his disciples left the last supper after drinking the blessing cup but before taking the 4th cup (the “Cup of Acceptance” or the “Cup of consummation”): leaving the Paschal meal unfinished! The Seder meal traditionally ends with the Nirtzah: a simple statement that the meal has been completed. + That too didn’t happen until later.(HM-10, GB, OMJ)

Reflections on the Last Supper

Holding his heart in his hands
The Eucharist is the greatest gift given to man… and probably one of the least appreciated. In this Last Supper—a supper that the disciples do not fully realize will be their last—Jesus opens his heart with such a deep yearning to give himself to his beloved ones. The disciples know that they are loved, but they have no idea how much. They do not yet realize that he is literally holding his heart in his hands and breaking it in front of them, offering it to them to eat. They are doing their best, but they cannot understand it all now. The Holy Spirit will help them to understand, little by little, through their own experience of loving others as Jesus has loved them. In our lives too, we grow in our ability to understand the mystery of the Eucharist only insofar as we learn to love others. There is a shell of egotism around the heart—sometimes camouflaged under the name of a virtue (detachment, prudence, giving others their space, not getting emotionally involved)—and as long as that shell is there, the heart will never be broken. But neither will it grow as it could. In the Eucharist, Jesus loves to the extreme. He does not protect his heart, but lays it on a paten as a free gift. Some souls have responded in love for him. But others have abused the gift of that heart, breaking it with their sins and sacrileges. Mary, the first heart to be broken by love, can teach us not to be afraid to learn to love like Jesus: taking the first step, risking rejection, giving people a chance, offering a sincere friendship… In this mystery, we can ask her for the courage to love others without fear.

Be hidden be a light to your neighbor’s feet, I shall be with you.
How can you be hidden when you are a light to your neighbor’s feet? That’s very simple. A lantern carried along a path in the night is taken for granted. There is a photo from my days of rural nursing that I cherish very much. A little boy carried the lantern, Father carried the Blessed Sacrament, and I trudged behind them, for one of my patients was dying.

Nobody paid any attention to that little light. It was so commonplace to carry a lantern from the house to the barn to milk the cows in early morning, and so on, that in a sense the lantern was hidden. It was that ‘invisible’ thing that everybody takes for granted, like one’s fork and knife and plate at meals.

I myself have experienced that one can be hidden while being a light. You may be a celebrity but still hidden, because of your desire to be hidden. That’s deep. St. Joseph is a great example, the second greatest saint of all, and he remains hidden. As he lived his life completely for others, Joseph became smaller and smaller and his hiddenness grew. Yet he provides light for all who wish to be a servant of others! +

No One Takes My Life From Me. +
Jesus celebrated the Passover without a [sacrificed] lamb and without a temple; yet, not without a lamb and not without a temple. He himself was the awaited Lamb, the true Lamb, just as John the Baptist had foretold at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (Jn 1:29).

And he himself was the true Temple, the living Temple where God dwells and where we can encounter God and worship him. His Blood, the love of the One who is both Son of God and true man, one of us, is the Blood that can save. His love, that love in which he gave himself freely for us, is what saves us. The nostalgic, in a certain sense, ineffectual gesture which was the sacrifice of an innocent and perfect lamb, found a response in the One who for our sake became at the same time Lamb and Temple.

Thus, the Cross was at the center of the new Passover of Jesus. From it came the new gift brought by him, and so it lives on forever in the Blessed Eucharist in which, down the ages, we can celebrate the new Passover with the Apostles.

From Christ’s Cross comes the gift. "No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord". He now offers it to us.

The paschal Haggadah, the commemoration of God’s saving action, has become a memorial of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ - a memorial that does not simply recall the past but attracts us within the presence of Christ’s love.

Thus, the barakah, Israel’s prayer of blessing and thanksgiving, has become our Eucharistic celebration in which the Lord blesses our gifts - the bread and wine - to give himself in them.

Let us pray to the Lord that he will help us to understand this marvelous mystery ever more profoundly, to love it more and more, and in it, to love the Lord himself ever more.

For Peace

What would the Catholic Church be without the Mass! Our prayer, our food, our divine medicine, our irreplaceable worship, our offering of creations work, struggle and sufferings, our praise and thanksgiving for all of God’s providence, what would the Church be without the Mass? The Holy sacrifice washes away our sins, and for the grave ones following sincere Confession, the Bread of Life and the cup of Salvation restore in our weary souls the flow of Divine “sap” to our little branch of the Vine that is Christ.

In this mystery, we pray for peace in the world, in our hearts, in our family, in our country, at our work, with our neighbor, even with our enemies – and really, especially with our enemies. In the Mass, we lift up to God all of the wars and divisions on our planet. Like creation’s own blood, mixed into the wine of our chalices, the Holy Spirit transforms it into the Blood of Christ, for the healing of our wounded world – for the healing of our wounded souls.

Praying for peace is not enough – we must become peace. Then, as St. Seraphim of Sarov said, we will save a thousand souls around us.

An Un-bloody sacrifice
It is interesting that Jesus, God, arranged the sequence of events such that the last Supper was celebrated on the Essene’s Seder meal. This took advantage of the Essene’s un-bloody Seder celebration to put the focus on Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice for all as a Todah, a Eucharistic sacrifice not the animal sacrifice that was celebrated once for all on Passover.

No comments: