Lenten Reflection for Maundy Thursday – “Sharing in the Body of Christ”
Author: Jordan Haynie
This is the most important Eucharist of the year – other celebrations may be more important, sure, like Easter and Christmas – but no other Eucharist is like this Eucharist. Because this one was first. This was the first time that Our Lord Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his followers saying, “Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you.’ This was the first time that He took the cup, blessed it, and gave it to them saying, “Take, drink, this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many. “
In today’s reading, Paul tells the first Christians that in eating the bread and drinking the cup, following Christ’s example, they share in Christ’s body and blood. Paul believed that Christ was literally and really present in that bread and wine, and that by partaking in the Lord’s Supper, the living Christ became literally and really present in everyone gathered. “Is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?” The community is joined to Christ Himself tonight, as we share in His body in the Eucharist.
Let us remember that as we journey together on the Via Dolorosa, to the Tomb, and to the Resurrection. We have been joined to Christ, and He is present within us always. We experience all of His joys and all of His pain. We walk with Him to Golgotha, and it is we who suffer with Him on the cross. But we who have been united to Him in a death like His, will also share in new life like His. Though we stand with Him in this difficult time, as the prophet Jeremiah reminds us, our persecutors will stumble, and the Lord will prevail.
Jesus Himself declares that He has been glorified in us, His followers, and that we are His own, and His own are God’s. We share in Christ’s own glory; joined to Him, we are ourselves Christ. No matter our sufferings, no matter our failings, no matter our sins, we are joined to Christ and He has been glorified in us. As we remember the pain of Christ these next few days, remember that we too share in His sufferings, but that we will also share in His Resurrection.