Mark 14:12-16, 22-26 | Body and Blood of Christ, Year B
The Eucharist—the Breaking of Temporal Bonds
When Jesus entered Jerusalem for what was to be the last time, it was on a high note. On Palm Sunday, He was hailed as a king and it was pandemonium in the streets. The disciples probably rode that wave, high-fiving each other. The Guy they had dropped everything to follow, He really was the Messiah, the One who had come to rally the Jews and lead them to victory. I bet more than one or two of them sent messages back to their families to crow that despite all the doubts, they had made the right choice. From this point on, Jesus’s followers probably thought they would go from strength to strength—that failure was not in the cards.
Failure wasn’t, but success wouldn’t look they way they thought it would either.
Jesus knew, at least in broad strokes, what was on the horizon. He knew the high the disciples basked in was not the end, that the success they craved was merely temporal, and Jesus was beyond temporal. He came to break the earthly bonds. But His followers didn’t understand that, maybe (like us) they couldn’t understand that. We are a temporal people, bound by natural laws. Jesus isn’t.
So, Jesus, out of His great love for them (and us), offered a thread (really a rope), a connection to Him for all eternity. At the crest of their wave, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet to remind them of their true mission of service. Then He gave them access to His body and blood for all eternity. He knew they needed the tactile reminder. What could be more human, more tactile, than His body and blood?
Jesus wasn’t saying don’t celebrate, don’t feel the victory deep. But He was reminding us that our definition of victory isn’t God’s. He was reminding us that our concept of victory is limited. So, when our wave crashes us to the beach, Jesus wants us to know He is still with us.
When the Eucharist is part of our daily lives, regardless of whether we’re at the top of the wave or buried in the sand, we have a tactile connection to the source and summit of Christian life—a reminder that Jesus has been in both places. If we regularly take part in Jesus’s last physical gift to us, we stay connected to Him in a way that defies temporal bonds. We can trust His way will lead to success, no matter how that may look.
Gifts can connect us physically to people who are no longer here. Jesus knew we needed that connection, so He gave us the most precious gift He could, Himself. He wanted to remind us that one day, though not necessarily now, we will understand, that when we are rejoined with Him, the temporal bonds will fall away.