The Institution of the Eucharist: A Reflection on the Fifth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke

The Institution of the Eucharist

When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."

Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

Then he took a loaf of 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." And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

"But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has been deter-mined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!"

Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.

–Luke 22:14-23


Indifference toward the Eucharist is one of the marks of our age. It is so easy to become indifferent—toward people, toward things of great value, and even indifferent toward life itself.

It's human nature. If we do not intentionally and proactively foster the awe and respect that God, the Church, the Mass, the Eucharist, and life deserve, our hearts will become indifferent to these treasures.

Observe the attitude and behavior of Catholics at Mass, and the only conclusion you can reach is that they are indifferent toward Jesus, the Son of the living God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the beginning and the end, the God-man who died for them on the cross and saved them from their sins-the same Jesus who shows us all how to be reasonably happy in this life and invites us to join him in the supreme happiness of eternity.

We live in an age of indifference. We shouldn't be surprised. If people en masse can be indifferent toward Jesus, nobody is safe from their prideful indifference.

Have you ever helped somebody, really gone above and beyond to make his life better, but then afterward he resented you? His indifference toward you stings at first, but as you reflect on all you did for him, the pain goes way beyond a shallow sting; it goes deep to the core of your heart and soul. You are shocked and appalled, but you shouldn't be. We all do it. Worst of all, we do it to God.

In a culture of indifference, nothing is holy. This is what we see in the way people speak to and treat each other, in the way anyone or anything that is good and holy is attacked.

The Mass and the Eucharist should inspire awe and a deep respect. I admit that they often don't for me. That is proof of my ignorance. The Mass and the Eucharist are ever-fresh, ever-new fountains of wisdom, love, mercy, and grace. We could go to Mass every day of our lives, and there would still be an infinite number of lessons we could learn from the Mass and the Eucharist.

One reason for our indifference is that this cynical world has dulled our spiritual senses. Our spiritual imagination and spiritual sight have both been accosted by the subtle and not-so-subtle daily attacks of our culture.

Do you know what happened at the Last Supper? If we consider this question, most of us would say yes and then recite the facts and mechanics of that historic experience. In our arrogant foolishness we think we know what happened at the Last Supper.

Let's consider what we don't know about the Last Supper. Who arrived first? Who was the last to leave? Which disciple was most concerned that the others had what they needed?

What were Andrew and Peter talking about that night? What was Judas thinking as he prepared to betray his brothers and his God? Were the disciples talking about the future, making plans that would never materialize because in a matter of hours the world would change forever? Were they arguing about something trivial or inconsequential? How did that make Jesus feel, knowing what he knew about what was about to happen? Which of the disciples had the best sense of humor? Were they joking around that night before dinner, oblivious to the fact that they were about to experience one of the most serious events in the history of the world? Did they know that future generations would be able to consume the body and blood of Jesus? Did they know that people would kill and be killed over this single idea, that it would be the solitary truth that would cause so many to abandon Jesus?

Do you know what happened at the Last Supper? What we don't know about it dwarfs what we do know. What we don't know about God makes what we do know about him look like a grain of sand in the Sahara.

Let us beg Jesus to awaken our spiritual senses so that as we read the Scriptures we can smell the dust rising from the road, hear the whispers in the crowd as he speaks, notice the looks on various people's faces, and hear his words without the noise and distractions of this world.

It's amazing what we choose to focus on in our lives. It's astounding what we choose to care about. Put whatever you are worried about right now in the big picture of God, life, the history of the world, and eternity. The things we choose to make important often reveal our distorted priorities.

Indifference is a destroyer of love. Indifference often prevents love from beginning, for it places us inside an impregnable shell of uncaring.



With these inspirations in our hearts and minds, we turn to you, Jesus, and pray.

Lord, draw us nearer to you than ever before. Inspire us to spend time with you before the tabernacle. When the opportunity is available to spend time with you in adoration, let us embrace it. We also ask you to arrange things so that we can attend Mass more often and receive you-body, blood, soul, and divinity-in the humble host.

Banish indifference from our hearts and our lives.

Fill us today with a whole new love and respect for the power of the Eucharist. Lord, take our minuscule understanding of what the Eucharist is and what it can do to a whole new level. Somehow, somewhere, sometime, let this great divider unite all Christians and the whole world in peace and tranquility.

Jesus, we offer this decade to you for priests: for every priest who is, for every priest who has been, and for every priest who will be. Bless them, Lord, with grace unimaginable to carry out their work. Never let them doubt the importance of their work and the difference it makes for ordinary people who seek to love you, do your will, and live good lives. Lift them up when they are discouraged. Raise up in them a deep desire to heal your people, and teach them to take care of their bodies and souls just as you did.

We also pray in a special way for all those who are preparing to be priests and to minister to your people, for all those who are discerning a call to the priesthood-please give them courage. And for any priest, or any person, who has lost faith in your true presence in the Eucharist, give each of them new energy for life and ministry and new courage to share your love and your message with others.

Lord, help us to realize what we are really hungry for in our lives today, and give us the wisdom to realize that you want to feed our deepest needs with the Eucharist.

Mary, just as the priest prays, "O Priest of God, pray this Mass as if it were your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass," help us to approach each Mass with great respect and wonder, as if it were our first Mass, our last Mass, our only Mass.


(Taken from Rediscover the Rosary by Matthew Kelly)

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