“Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you.”
A reading from the Book of Exodus (Exodus 24:3-8)
In those days: Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it upon the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 116:12-13.15 and 16bc.17-18 (R. 13)
R/. The cup of salvation I will raise,
I will call on the name of the Lord.
How can I repay the Lord
for all his goodness to me?
The cup of salvation I will raise;
I will call on the name of the Lord. R.
How precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful.
Your servant am I, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosened my bonds. R.
A thanksgiving sacrifice I make;
I will call on the name of the Lord.
My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people. R.
The blood of Christ will purify our conscience.
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 9:11-15)
Brethren: When Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.
The word of the Lord.
The following sequence, Lauda Sion, is optional before the Alleluia verse. The sequence may be used either in its entirety or in the shorter form, beginning with the words *Behold the bread.
Sequence (LAUDA SION)
Zion, praise your Saviour.
Praise your leader and shepherd in hymns and canticles.
Praise him as much as you can, for he is beyond all praising
and you will never be able to praise him as he merits.
But today a theme worthy of particular praise
is put before us — the living and life- giving bread
that, without any doubt,
was given to the Twelve at table during the holy supper.
Therefore let our praise be full and resounding
and our soul’s rejoicing full of delight and beauty,
for this is the festival day
to commemorate the first institution of this table.
At this table of the new King,
the new law’s new Pasch puts an end to the old Pasch.
The new displaces the old, reality the shadow and light the darkness.
Christ wanted what he did at the supper
to be repeated in his memory.
And so we, in accordance with his holy directions
consecrate bread and wine to be salvation’s Victim.
Christ’s followers know by faith that bread is changed into his flesh and wine into his blood.
Man cannot understand this, cannot perceive it;
but a lively faith affirms that the change,
which is outside the natural course of things, takes place.
Under the different species,
which are now signs only and not their own reality,
there lie hid wonderful realities. His body is our food, his blood our
And yet Christ remains entire under each species.
The communicant receives the complete Christ —
uncut, unbroken and undivided.
Whether one receive or a thousand,
the one receives as much as the thousand.
Nor is Christ diminished by being received.
The good and the wicked alike receive him,
but with the unlike destiny of life or death.
To the wicked it is death, but life to the good.
See how different is the result,
though each receives the same.
Last of all, if the sacrament is broken, have no doubt.
Remember there is as much in a fragment
as in an unbroken host.
There is no division of the reality, but only a breaking of the sign;
nor does the breaking diminish the condition or size
of the One hidden under the sign.
* Behold, the bread of angels is become the pilgrim’s food;
truly it is bread for the sons, and is not to be cast to dogs.
It was prefigured in type
when Isaac was brought as an offering, when a lamb was appointed for the Pasch
and when manna was given to the Jews of old.
Jesus, good shepherd and true bread, have mercy on us; feed us and guard us.
Grant that we find happiness in the land of the living.
You know all things, can do all things, and feed us here on earth.
Make us your guests in heaven,
co-heirs with you and companions of heaven’s citizens.
ALLELUIA John 6:51
Alleluia. I am the living bread which came down from heaven, says the Lord; if any one eats this bread he will live for ever.
“This is my body. This is my blood.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark 14:12-16.22-26)
On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to Jesus, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the householder, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover. 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 chalice, 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.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Today we remember with gratitude and celebrate Jesus’ gift of his Body and Blood to us. To give one’s own body is to give one’s time. To give one’s own blood is to give one’s very life. We might give our body but, when we give our life as well, the gift becomes truly personal. Jesus gives his body and pours out his life for love of us, to transform the world into a new creation. As we receive his body and blood in communion, let us be filled with gratitude for this amazing gifts of Jesus, who wants not only to be close to us but to fill our hearts and dwell within the temple of our body, bringing with him his father and the spirit who unites them in love. In imitation, we must pour out ourselves in love for others and transform the world into a community of loving and self-sacrificing persons.