The painting depicts Jesus and the Apostles during the Last Supper, with Judas dressed in blue turning towards the viewer and away from the table. Other than Jesus, the most prominent figure in the painting is Judas. Judas is holding his right hand to his mouth, while his eyes avoid any direct contact with the other figures in the painting, thereby creating something of a nervous expression on his face.
Mark 14: 12-16. 22-26
12 “On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, ‘Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ 13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there’. 16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them.
So they prepared the Passover.
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying,
‘Take it; this is my body’.
23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks,
he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many’, he said to them. 25 ‘Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God’.
26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives”.
This part of the Gospel comes after the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem where people acclaimed him as the One coming in the name of the Lord. Immediately after the Passover celebration, one of his Disciples will betray him, Peter will deny him, and the others will all fall away.
Jesus sends two of his Disciples to prepare the ‘Upper Room’ where they will eat the Passover. There, Jesus will give them a lasting memorial of the celebration of the ‘breaking of bread’ and the sharing of ‘the blood of the covenant’ so that they may do this in remembrance of Him.
Jesus does not want his death to happen without their understanding its meaning. He knows that He has to die and wants them to understand that this is only out of love for the world. For this reason, there is a future for ourselves and for all of humankind.
The Eucharist is the Sacrament that unites us to the mystery of Jesus Christ, the God-made-man, who gives us his life in the form of bread and wine.
The Eucharist expresses the immense love of the Lord in which we commemorate his liberating Passover, and is the Sacrament that gives us life to the full and strengthens our faith.
Preparation for the Passover Meal
Jesus knows that He will be betrayed. Nevertheless, He seeks to have moment of close fraternity with the Disciples at the Last Supper.
Jesus wants to prepare this meal in such a way that it will remain forever in the memory of the Disciples as the most important experience of their lives.
That large “Upper Room” remained etched in the memory of the first Christians as the place where the first Eucharist was celebrated, and the place where they gathered together in later times.
We continue with that tradition whenever we come together to celebrate the Passover of the Lord.
The Eucharist is an act of Supreme Love.
The last meeting of Jesus with his Disciples before his death on Calvary took place in the traditional celebration of the Passover.
The contrast is very pronounced. On the one hand when Jesus announced his death to them, the Disciples felt sad and did not understand what was going on. On the other hand, we have Jesus, calm and in control of the situation, presiding at the supper and breaking bread. He invites his friends to partake of His Body and Blood. He does what He always prayed for: to be able to give His life so that His friends might have life.
This is the profound meaning of the Eucharist: learning from Jesus to give completely of one’s self for others, without fear of the forces of Evil. Life is stronger than death. Faith in the resurrection cancels the power that death has over us.
The Eucharist: a call to serve one another
Celebrating the Eucharist as a memorial of Jesus means assimilating his values and his life, a life placed completely at the service of Others. At the end of the First Century, the Gospel of John, rather than describing the actual Rite of the Eucharist, describes how Jesus knelt down to render the lowest of service of all: washing people’s feet. After rendering this service, Jesus says to his Disciples: “Do, as I have done to you”. John in his Gospel asks for those attitudes of life that keep alive the memory of Jesus offering Himself completely in the Eucharist.
We rejoice in the Eucharist, the greatest of all the gifts that Jesus has given us. We renew our faith in the sacramental presence of Jesus in the form of bread and wine, and we renew our love and service for one another.
O gracious and holy Father,
give us wisdom to perceive You,
intelligence to understand You,
diligence to seek You,
patience to wait for You,
eyes to behold You,
a heart to meditate upon You,
and a life to proclaim You,
through the power of the Spirit
of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Prayer of Saint Benedict
Pope Francis. Rome: 14th June 2020
“The Eucharist heals the painful memories we would rather forget. The wounds we keep inside create problems not only for ourselves but also for others. They make us fearful and suspicious. We start with being withdrawn, and end up cynical and indifferent. Our wounds can lead us to react to others with indifference and arrogance, in the mistaken belief that in this way we can control the situation. Yet this is an illusion, for it is only love that can heal fear at its very root and free us from the self-centredness that imprisons us.
He gives of himself in order to teach us it is only by opening our hearts to others that we can be truly set free from all that would imprison us, from all that seeks to paralyse our hearts.
Jesus, the Lord, by offering himself to us in the form of bread and wine, invites us not to waste our lives chasing after those things that we think we cannot do without, and yet that leave us empty within.
The Eucharist enkindles within us the desire to leave our ‘comfort zone’ and serve others”.
Alluding to the prevailing Pandemic, Francis tells us:
“It is especially urgent at this time to take care of those who hunger for food and for dignity, of those without work and those who struggle to carry on with life. And this we must do in a concrete way, as real as the bread that Jesus gives us in the Eucharist”.
 Mark 11: 9-11 “And those who went before and those who followed cried, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!” And they enteredJerusalem, and went into the temple; and when he had looked round at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.”  Mark 14:26,29-30 “You will all fall away.” “Peter said to him, even though they all fall away, I will not. And Jesus said to him, Truly, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.”  Mark 14: 15-16 “And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us. And the disciples set our and went to the city, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.”  Luke 22:19 “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.”  Mark 14:24 “And he said to them, this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”  Luke 22:20 “And likewise the cup after supper, saying, this is cup, which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”  Mark 14:12 “And the first leavened Bread, when of the Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”  Mark 14:15-16  Mark 14:22-26 “And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, , and said, Take; this is my body. And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”  John 13:15 “Do as I have done to you”  John: 13:15