May 29, 2016
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”
1 Corinthians 11:26
What does it mean to “proclaim the death of the Lord”? We hear this passage read in the Liturgy of Holy Thursday and today, and we often proclaim it as an acclamation during the Eucharistic Prayer. But sometimes we forget that, when Paul wrote these words to the Corinthians, it was in the context of scolding them about their divisions and their lack of charity to each other when they came together for “the Lord’s Supper.”
Paul reminds them that Jesus gave his Body and shed his Blood “for you” and that proclaiming his death means imitating him in being broken and poured out in service to each other. As he says a few verses later, when you come together for this supper, “wait for one another.” And then it is but a short distance to the following chapters of this letter in which he describes how the spiritual gifts build up the body of Christ and culminate in the greatest gift of love.
As we celebrate this solemnity, let us remember that Real Presence is inextricably bound to Real Service and that our songs of adoration must always bear fruit in action.
Loving and merciful God,
as we are nourished by the one Bread and the one Cup,
gather us into one body by the Holy Spirit,
and enable us to become a living sacrifice in Christ,
broken and poured out in loving service to each other and to the world.