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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

337

The “cup of blessing”

157

at the end of the Jewish Passover meal

adds to the festive joy of wine an eschatological dimension: the

messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. When Jesus

instituted the Eucharist, he gave a new and definitive meaning to

the blessing of the bread and the cup.

1335

The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the

Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through

his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance

of this unique bread of his Eucharist.

158

The sign of water turned

into wine at Cana already announces the Hour of Jesus’ glorifica-

tion. It makes manifest the fulfillment of the wedding feast in the

Father’s kingdom, where the faithful will drink the new wine that

has become the Blood of Christ.

159

1336

The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disci-

ples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: “This

is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”

160

The Eucharist and the Cross

are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be

an occasion of division. “Will you also go away?”:

161

the Lord’s

question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover

that only he has “the words of eternal life”

162

and that to receive in faith

the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself.

The institution of the Eucharist

1337

The Lord, having loved those who were his own, loved

them to the end. Knowing that the hour had come to leave this

world and return to the Father, in the course of a meal he washed

their feet and gave them the commandment of love.

163

In order to

leave them a pledge of this love, in order never to depart from his

own and to make them sharers in his Passover, he instituted the

Eucharist as the memorial of his death and Resurrection, and

commanded his apostles to celebrate it until his return; “thereby

he constituted them priests of the New Testament.”

164

1338

The three synoptic Gospels and St. Paul have handed on to us the

account of the institution of the Eucharist; St. John, for his part, reports the

words of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum that prepare for the

157

1 Cor

10:16.

158 Cf.

Mt

14:13-21; 15:32-39.

159 Cf.

Jn

2:11;

Mk

14:25.

160

Jn

6:60.

161

Jn

6:67.

162

Jn

6:68.

163 Cf.

Jn

13:1-17; 34-35.

164 Council of Trent (1562): DS 1740.

1151

1327

610

611