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338

Part Two

institution of the Eucharist: Christ calls himself the bread of life, come

down from heaven.

165

1339

Jesus chose the time of Passover to fulfill what he had an-

nounced at Capernaum: giving his disciples his Body and his Blood:

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the

passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and

John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover meal for us, that

we may eat it. . . .” They went . . . and prepared the passover.

And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles

with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat

this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not

eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” . . . And

he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and

gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for

you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup

after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you

is the New Covenant in my blood.”

166

1340

By celebrating the Last Supperwith his apostles in the course

of the Passover meal, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive

meaning. Jesus’ passing over to his father by his death and Resurrec-

tion, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in

the Eucharist, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the

final Passover of the Church in the glory of the kingdom.

“Do this in memory of me”

1341

The command of Jesus to repeat his actions andwords “until

he comes” does not only ask us to remember Jesus and what he did.

It is directed at the liturgical celebration, by the apostles and their

successors, of the

memorial

of Christ, of his life, of his death, of his

Resurrection, and of his intercession in the presence of the Father.

167

1342

From the beginning the Church has been faithful to the

Lord’s command. Of the Church of Jerusalem it is written:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellow-

ship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. . . . Day by day,

attending the temple together and breaking bread in their

homes, they partook of foodwith glad and generous hearts.

168

1343

It was above all on “the first day of the week,” Sunday, the

day of Jesus’ resurrection, that the Christians met “to break

bread.”

169

From that time on down to our own day the celebration

165 Cf.

Jn

6.

166

Lk

22:7-20; cf.

Mt

26:17-29;

Mk

14:12-25;

1 Cor

11:23-26.

167 Cf.

1 Cor

11:26.

168

Acts

2:42, 46.

169

Acts

20:7.

1169

1151

677

611

1363

2624

1166, 2177