Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Matthew Chapter 26

We’ve come to the beginning of the end. This chapter begins the Passion of our Lord.  The Passion refers to the events immediately following the Last Supper and terminating with his Death on the Cross. So, when we say the Passion of our Lord, we are referring to the events beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane (vv. 36-46) and ending with his Crucifixion (27:32-45). When then talk about his Death (27:45ff.), Burial (27:57ff.), and finally, His Resurrection (28:1-10). But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. I guess my point is to explain the reality that Jesus’s Passion is literally the suffering that he undergoes as he approaches His Death. His Death accomplishes the great work or Expiation; while His Resurrection manifests God’s power of Redemption and Salvation.  So, just some theology to whet your theological muscles!

Now, let’s go back. The symbolism contained in the next three chapters complement and bring into stark relief the prophecies not only made in the Old Testament, but also those made by Jesus throughout the Gospel of Matthew. The present chapter begins with a vignette into the conspiracy to kill Jesus (vv. 1-5); this is then coupled with Judas’s meeting with the chief priests in verses 14-16 that brings the act to its penultimate end. The act of Judas’s betrayal terminates in the exchange in the Garden of Gethsemane (vv.47-56) where Jesus’s is given over to his enemies by the kiss of a friend- a truly tragic sequence of events.

We also have Matthew’s account of the Last Supper (vv. 17-29). While Matthew’s account of the Last Supper doesn’t mirror exactly the words we use in the Eucharist at Mass, they do adequately show Jesus’s intention in instituting the Eucharist. Here’s more theology: we believe that every Mass is a re-presentation of the Last Supper. Not representation, but re-presentation- a making present again. The priest acts in the Person of Christ and offers again, just as Jesus did, the Eucharist for the salvation of the world.

This chapter is chocked full of good stuff. Read it slowly and soak it all in.

Point for Prayer
Pray with that point of theology I mentioned earlier: each Mass, every Mass, is a representation of the Lord’s Last Supper. The priest, acting in the person of Christ, makes present again the Body and Blood of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. Those who consume Him are His Apostles. We are all His Apostles! We become alike unto Him! The more we consume Him, the more He consumes us!

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