Jesus celebrated the Passover meal in Jerusalem with his disciples the night before he died. This meal, celebrated by Jesus, is now called the Last Supper.
Luke 22:8-13; 17-20
8So Jesus said to Peter and John, ‘Go and prepare the Passover meal for us to eat.’ 9But they asked, ‘Where do you want us to prepare it?’ 10Jesus told them, ‘As you go into the city, you will meet a man carrying a jar of water. Follow him into the house 11and say to the owner, “Our teacher wants to know where he can eat the Passover meal with his disciples.” 12The owner will take you upstairs and show you a large room ready for you to use. Prepare the meal there.’ 13Peter and John left. They found everything just as Jesus had told them, and they prepared the Passover meal.
17Jesus took a cup of wine in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he told the apostles, ‘Take this wine and share it with each other. 18I tell you that I will not drink any more wine until God's kingdom comes. 19Jesus took some bread in his hands and gave thanks for it. He broke the bread and handed it to his apostles. Then he said, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Eat this as a way of remembering me!’ 20After the meal he took another cup of wine in his hands. Then he said, ‘This is my blood. It is poured out for you, and with it God makes his new agreement.’
Matthew 26:17-19; 26-30
17On the first day of the Festival of Thin Bread, Jesus' disciples came to him and asked, ‘Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal?’ 18Jesus told them to go to a certain man in the city and tell him, ‘Our teacher says, “My time has come! I want to eat the Passover meal with my disciples in your home.”’ 19They did as Jesus told them and prepared the meal.
26During the meal Jesus took some bread in his hands. He blessed the bread and broke it. Then he gave it to his disciples and said, ‘Take this and eat it. This is my body.’ 27Jesus picked up a cup of wine and gave thanks to God. He then gave it to his disciples and said, ‘Take this and drink it. 28This is my blood, and with it God makes his agreement with you. It will be poured out, so that many people will have their sins forgiven. 29From now on I am not going to drink any wine, until I drink new wine with you in my Father's kingdom.’ 30Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
Mark 14:13-16; 22-26
13Jesus said to two of the disciples, ‘Go into the city, where you will meet a man carrying a jar of water. Follow him, 14and when he goes into a house, say to the owner, “Our teacher wants to know if you have a room where he can eat the Passover meal with his disciples.” 15The owner will take you upstairs and show you a large room furnished and ready for you to use. Prepare the meal there.’ 16The two disciples went into the city and found everything just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover meal.
22During the meal Jesus took some bread in his hands. He blessed the bread and broke it. Then he gave it to his disciples and said, ‘Take this. It is my body.’ 23Jesus picked up a cup of wine and gave thanks to God. He gave it to his disciples, and they all drank some. 24Then he said, ‘This is my blood, which is poured out for many people, and with it God makes his agreement. 25From now on I will not drink any wine, until I drink new wine in God's kingdom.’ 26Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus celebrated the Passover meal in Jerusalem with his disciples the night before he died. The Passover meal was (and still is) a very important meal to Jewish people that commemorates the Exodus. This meal, celebrated by Jesus, is now called the Last Supper. Like all important meals, it was prepared for in a special way (Luke 22: 7-18).
The Passover was a communal celebration. Usually families celebrated the Passover together and so it is interesting to note who Jesus chose to celebrate this, his final Passover, with – his closest friends and followers. The communal aspect of the Eucharist is far more than a group of people sharing a meal, it is the coming together of those who share the belief in the Kingdom of God. When people go to Mass they are remembering Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection and making a communal commitment to go and share God’s love in the world.
The night before he was crucified, Jesus took bread and wine, and said to his Apostles:
Take this all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body…
Take this all of you, and drink from it for this is the chalice of my blood...
Do this in memory of me.’ (Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayers)
The Apostles in their ministry carried out this command of Jesus. They knew that each time they repeated the actions and words of Jesus at the Last Supper, Jesus through the power of the Holy
Spirit would change the bread and wine into his Body and Blood. The followers of Jesus have continued to carry out this command to take, bless, break and give in the same way throughout time by celebrating the Eucharist.
For Reflection and Discussion
Using simple props (a table, figurines, wine cup, bread), tell the story of the Last Supper from the above texts. Discuss with students what they might have seen, heard, tasted, felt and smelled if they had been at the Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples. Discuss the food they may have eaten, what they might have spoken about, what hymn they may have sung.
Make a visual link to the Eucharist by then changing the Last Supper scene into a Mass setting by moving the disciples to form the congregation, in front of the table/altar, leaving Jesus behind the altar and placing a board with a cross on it behind the altar. Discuss with students what the scene now looks like and how each component comes together in Mass – the Priest is Jesus and he uses the same actions and words Jesus did, we call the table an altar, the people who go to Mass (the community) are the disciples celebrating together. Discuss with students what they see, hear, taste, feel and smell at Mass.
Compare the preparations for a familiar celebration (eg. birthday party) to the preparation for the Mass.
Consider food, decorations, special clothes, people who attend, words said/sung and actions.
Create a comic strip (either electronically or on paper) of the Last Supper and include Jesus' words and actions.
Students role-play the Last Supper (in the home corner or as a group). Use costumes, a cup, bread and a low table and cushions.
- I wonder how the disciples felt when they shared this special meal with Jesus.
- I wonder how Peter and John felt about getting the special meal ready for Jesus and their friends.
- I wonder what Jesus and his disciples talked about at the Last Supper.
- Why was the Last Supper so important to Jesus?
- Why is it so important to us?
- I wonder how the disciples felt about being all together with Jesus to share this special meal.
- Have you seen some of the actions that Jesus did in the Last Supper story at Mass?
- Have you heard some of the words that Jesus said in the Last Supper story at Mass?