The Passover Rhyme of the Mass & The Altar of Holy Trinity Church, Georgetown

Fr. G. Ronald Murphy, SJ

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of German, Georgetown University

Sunday, April 28, 2024


I. The Passover Rhyme of the Mass

What did he mean when he said, “Do this”?

It was simple and direct question when my brother-in-law asked it: What did Jesus mean by “this” when he said, “do this in memory of me”? What exactly did he mean by this? Why did he say about the bread, “Take this all of you and eat it”? And about the wine, “Take this all of you and drink it”? What did he mean? Were there human feelings that urged him to say and do these things? Was it maybe because he was afraid of dying and of separation from those he loved and he wanted somehow for them to remain close to him? Moreover, when he did it, was there also possibly something he was trying to get his followers to realize, something about his passing, his Exodus?

The ritual of Passover supper obliged him to break the bread, and custom obliges all at the table to spill drops of wine from their cups, but nothing, neither custom or law, obliged him to say of the broken pieces of unleavened bread, “This is my body,” or to say of the wine poured into his cup, “This is my blood.” Why did he do it? What did he mean? …


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