The apostles have now taken their seats and Jesusí gaze sees them all, even the betrayer who, looking directly at our Lord, feigns a innocent smile and toys with the silken fringe on the cord about his waist.
"Soon I shall no longer be with you. Yet, I know that you remain unprepared and I have prayed and asked the Father to help you. Thus, I give unto you a new covenant which from this night forward until all time ends shall be the mark of My true Church, the mark of all who, having believed in Me, bear Me in their hearts."
Jesus then lefts the plate with the small loaf of bread to Heaven and He
raises His eyes, which glow with a power and majesty that simply transform
Him as He becomes surrounded by light. And He says.
"Take and eat. This is My Body which shall be given up for you."
And lowering the loaf, he blesses and breaks it. John takes the first
morsel, then Peter. And the blessed plate which is now truly our Lordís
own sacred body is received by all present. I observe with what awe,
reverence and astonishment they take and eat of the body of their Master,
still not fully understanding but undoubtedly understanding in their souls
that Jesus has given them yet another miracle. Judas, however, fingers the
morsel of bread and quickly pushes it into his mouth and reaches instantly
for the last dredges of wine in his cup to wash it down, as if it was
spoiled, rotten flesh he was eating.
Only Jesus notices and He seems already bent under a very heavy weight.
But it is for the others and for all in future generations that He continues:
His long, tapering fingers lift now the chalice filled with wine. And
holding it aloft, gazing up to His Father, the same luminous transformation
takes place and He says:
"Take this and drink from it. This is the cup of My blood, the blood of
the new covenant, which shall be shed for you and for many so that sins may
be forgiven. As often as you do this, do it in memory of Me."
And the chalice is lowered and the same order proceeds as each apostle
sips the new covenant. John, having sipped, puts his head against our
Lordís arm and he begins to cry, while Jesusí gaze is forward. Judas,
having taken the chalice, can barely bring it to his lips, which seem to
snarl in anticipation of the contact. And having forced the sip, he now
swipes his sleeve across those lips and in this state of agitation, he
examines the sleeve for only he knows what. All of this occurs under our
Lordís observance. Now our Lord sits down and John literally cradles his
head against his Master, and his tears wet the sleeve of His tunic.
Jesus then says, quietly but profoundly, looking at Judas: "Do what you
have to do quickly."
And in a haste born perhaps of fear Judas grabs his mantle and he charges
up the stairs and leaves the Last Supper room.
For a moment the other apostles stir, but they quiet down believing Jesus
has sent Judas upon an errand of mercy. Only John keeps his head lowered,
and weeps. The last few fragments of bread and the few drops of wine in
the chalice remain in front of Jesus, and leaning close to His beloved
disciple, He whispers: "When you are able to return here after the hour
has come, preserve these remnants as a testimony to you of My Love, and
give them into the care of My Holy Mother, and your head - Peter. Preserve
them, for from these first I shall continue the miracle throughout all
future generations by successors in your line."
And John, somewhat calmer at Jesusí tone, nods, wipes his eyes and looks
at Jesus with such sadness that Peter, ever the optimist says: "Come on,
boy. Youíd think weíd been to a funeral. Nobodyís died that I know of."
And Peter does not hear Johnís low, plaintive, "Not yet."
But Jesus rises and bids His apostles follow Him. And together they leave
this holy room where Jesus has given them His own Body and Blood, Soul and
Divinity, to be their food in all ages to come.
I remain in the room, on my knees, gazing at this first Eucharist until
our Blessed Mother calls me to write.