Above all the message of Jesus of Nazareth was simple and straightforward.
He told his followers; “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
Not easy to do but easy to understand.
He spent his life demonstrating what this meant in practise.
On Holy Thursday evening he and his disciples celebrated the Jewish Passover Feast just as we celebrate Christmas. During the meal he took a loaf of bread and passed it around for each to take a piece and said; “take and eat, this is my body which will be given up for you.’
A little later he passed round the jug of wine and said “take and drink, for this is the cup of my blood which will be poured out for you.” Then he told them “do this in memory of me.”
Again very simple, straightforward and easily understood.
The disciples naturally did not realise the full meaning at the time but a few days later after the crucifixion and resurrection they understood and began to ‘do this in memory of Him.’ They called it ‘the breaking of bread.’
Unfortunately we human beings are not satisfied with simplicity. We keep piling up accessories, additives, ‘explanatory’ notes, procedures, trimmings, exotic language etc. which only obscure the original simple message. This happens in all our institutions, professions and departments.
Our Church is no exception. Our Mass which was once the sharing of a simple meal of bread and wine in memory of Jesus of Nazareth has morphed into the confusing medley of actions and prayers and gestures we have now.
Today we remember and celebrate this simple meal which Jesus shared with his followers on his last day of life. Today we join them at table with gratitude in our hearts for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
We ‘do this in memory of him.’