We spend a lot of time explaining the Eucharist so that those who come to Communion understand what they are receiving. Sacramental law requires that one must have “sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so that they understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity…” (Code of Canon Law 913 §3).
Yet I wonder if today’s narrative of the Last Supper from Mark’s Gospel might invite us to refrain from explaining the sacrament so much and instead enter the mystery of salvation into which Christ invites us all to participate.The bread we break is a participation in our relationship with Christ. And the cup we share is how we make a return to the Lord for all the good God has done for us. Click To Tweet
Notice, Mark’s Gospel is slightly different from Matthew’s account of the supper (and in what is implied in Luke’s and Paul’s narratives). In Matthew, Jesus gives the meaning of the cup as the disciples drink from it. But in Mark’s version we hear today, Jesus has the disciples drink first before he explains its meaning.
Does this mean we shouldn’t provide sufficient catechesis on the Eucharist? Of course not. But it does remind us that the Eucharist is not a reward for passing a test. It is first and foremost a relationship with Christ, the meaning of which deepens with every encounter. The bread we break is a participation in that relationship. And the cup we share is how we make a return to the Lord for all the good God has done for us.