Sermon:Maundy Thursday Institution of the Holy Eucharist by Jesus Christ
With the Lord’s Supper we celebrate the commemoration of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist
“on this night in which our Lord and Saviour was betrayed.”
This is a remarkable gift from God, but before we go further…
We have been reading for a week of the Passion of our Lord.
And those of you that participated in the Stations of the Cross,
you have followed the account of that dreadful event, every Friday Evening during the Lenten Season,
as this event ends with our Lord being put into the Sepulcher.
This very night you are offered the privilege of sitting with your Lord –
for he did ask his Disciples “Can’t you watch with me one hour?”
also we will “kindle a fire” and just as Peter, we will sit down amongst ourselves and talk around the fire about this man called Jesus.
Accusations may even follow, I pray, accusing one another of “being…with him…for we are Christians.”
Hopefully no one tonight will deny knowing Him…
Tomorrow (being Good Friday) we meet again at noontime for a three hour structured meditation –
This is a time of being alone with our Lord.
Hopefully we all will slow down our lives and invite Him to live more fully within each of us.
As he “opened not his lips” we also will tone down our conversation and focus upon him.
And then at 6 pm we will have Evening Prayers, and at seven our final Stations of the Cross.
All of these things are done to prepare us for our Lord’s victory over sin, death and Satan.
We prepare so that we enter not into the Glorious Day of Easter -unprepared.
In exhaustion we will come the climax of our Christian Faith – the Resurrection of our Lord.
But before we get there, we gather together tonight for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in remembrance of its institution.
Is it not amazing, after all that our Lord went through –
the many miracles of healing, the feedings,
the controlling of nature itself, and the showing forth of his humanity (for he even cried)
and of his Divinity (for He did give forgiveness of sins) –
after all of this … … … He had one thing left to do.
He would leave with us the miracles; I would say even the mysteries of faith itself, of healing, feeding, and nature itself to us –
The Shepherd of His sheep, of His own Fold…he now gives to us the Holy Eucharist.
Two thousand years after His death, we feed on the same Body
and partake of the same Blood as did the Apostles…
and this is no new “revelation”
for “this” feeding was the foundation of Christian Worship …
In the Gospel of St. John, probably written in late first century (around 96AD) Jesus,
plainly tells us that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.
Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
It did not take long for this “mystery” to become the foundation of the Christian Life –
Ignatius (around 105 AD) writes “I desire the bread of God…which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
and I desire the drink of God, namely His blood.”
And Justin Martyr sixty years later writes “the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word,
is the flesh and blood of that Jesus / who was made flesh.
Twenty years later Irenaeus testifies “For the bread, which is produced from the earth,
when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread,
but the Eucharist…which is the body and blood of Christ.
Finally Tertullian confirms all this some 20 years later as he tells us
“He declared plainly enough what He meant by the bread, when He called the bread His own body.
He likewise, when mentioning the cup and making the New Testament to be sealed in His blood,
affirmed the reality of His Body.
So make no mistake about what you are about to receive this evening – as it is “His Body” and “His Blood.”
This great gift, this Holy Eucharist contains the “Real Presence” of Body and Blood.
We join tonight with the millions of the Saints who have gone before us,
and we join in unity with His entire Church,
the Militant, the Expectant, and the Triumphant –
as we partake together of this Holy Sacrament, which has been passed down through His One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church.
Although there may be divisions and bickering’s among His people – there is the one great Unifier which underlines our faith –
and it is Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let us celebrate with His Church this Holy Sacrament.
And what does this Sacrament give and teach us?
That Christ dost vouchsafe to feed us…with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of our Saviour…
And It assures us of His favour and goodness towards us…
And that: We are incorporated, as members, of the mystical body of Jesus – along with all faithful people…
And heirs of His everlasting kingdom…all through the merits of his most precious death and passion…
Through this gift we ask, O Heavenly Father, so to assist us with thy grace,
helping us to remain in fellowship,
and finally do all good works that He hast prepared for us to walk.
Christ fed His disciple’s then, and He feeds us sill today.
Partake and be strengthened and refreshed:
for our walk along this journey and our walk in Faith demand such strength.
Our walk as Christians in a crumbling and sinful world is not easy,
and we cannot do it on our own (I care not what the world tells you)
it is only through Jesus Christ, through His victory that he He won,
will it then become ours.
Let us celebrate and give Thanks –
let us partake this evening as friends of Jesus –
for hear His words:
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends..
Ye are my friends
If ye do whatsoever I command you…
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…”
My friends You here tonight are His chosen People
You are saved by His Body and Blood…
His desire is to be with you –
what is yours?
The hour cometh and now is….