By his Body and Blood-A A +A
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
THE gospel reading in Mark 14:22-26 contains one of the great milestones of salvation history and the Christian faith - the institution of the Last Supper. So profound is its meaning and significance that it appears in two other gospels, that is, in Matthew 26:26-30 and in Luke 22:14-20. It was also revealed to St. Paul as he wrote his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 11:23-25).
To most of us, the story is very familiar. While they were eating, Jesus took a piece of bread, gave thanks to the Father, broke it and said, “This is my body.” In the same way he took a cup, gave thanks and said, “This is my blood which is poured out for many, my blood which seals God’s covenant.” Then he commanded his disciples: “Do this in remembrance of me.”
How profound and how intimate! The bread symbolized Jesus’ own body, and the wine in the cup, his own blood. Just as bread was broken, so was the body of Jesus wounded and nailed on the cross. And just as the bread was shared, so was the salvation offered to all who would believe in Christ.
God’s holiness demanded justice for sins committed. The wage of sin is death (Romans 6:23, part); thus, whenever man sins, he deserves to die. And who have not sinned? Romans 3:23 declares, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
In the Old Testament, the death of a sinner is averted by the atoning death of an animal.
In effect, the animal takes the place of man; it dies instead of the man dying for his sins. The shedding of the animal’s blood substitutes for the shedding of the person’s blood.
This, however, was only a shadow of a new and better sacrifice that happened in the New Testament. The blood of animals failed to completely eradicate sin, and each time sin is committed, a sacrificial offering must likewise be made. The coming of Jesus in history changed all that.
By his own once and for all sacrifice, he put an end to animal sacrifices and any other human works done to merit salvation. His blood was enough to wipe away any sin, great or small, of a repentant sinner. Now the way has been put in place; Jesus is the only way. As he declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Forgiveness of sins is no longer by the blood of lambs, bulls and goats. Forgiveness of sins is now by a confession to God of one’s sinfulness, true repentance, and an acceptance of his Son Jesus as the only Savior, Lord and King. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
As we take the bread and drink from the cup, let us follow Jesus’ instruction – to remember him, to bring back to memory God’s love in offering his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). And as we remember him, may the faith that we profess in our lips be seen in our deeds.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 07, 2012.