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Daily Devotional • December 9

David Baumann
One Communion
A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 22:14-30

14 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, 16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves, 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 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.” 20 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. 21 But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. 22 For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!” 23 Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 But he said to them, “The kings of the gentiles lord it over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you; rather, the greatest among you must become like the youngest and the leader like one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
28 “You are those who have stood by me in my trials, 29 and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

The superb movie, Jesus of Nazareth, produced by Franco Zeffirelli, was released in 1977. A beloved colleague of mine in the priesthood told me that when he saw the Last Supper scene, and saw Jesus introduce the Eucharist with the words of institution, it gave him chills. The familiar words suddenly became newly recognized in their power. 
The betrayal and arrest of Jesus are already in process, and “the hand of him who betrays” is with him on the table. The millennium-old Passover supper is taking on new depth and significance. Jesus takes the Passover 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.’” That changes everything for ever. Because that action is both within and beyond time, with each Communion you participate in, every Communion you’ve received before. 
You participate in every Eucharist there ever has been or will be. You receive alongside kings and queens of past centuries. You receive with peasants who lived in little huts. You receive with the dying in the times of the Black Plague. You receive with slaves and pregnant mothers who were brought the Sacrament as they awaited martyrdom in the arenas of the Roman Empire. You share with those who saw major historical events, and offered Masses of thanksgiving for deliverances and victories. You share in the funeral Mass for President John F. Kennedy. You hunker down for secret Masses said in Nazi concentration camps. You kneel with Saint Thomas Aquinas in adoration. You are at home at Masses in the deserts of China, the jungles of the Amazon, the suburbs of 1950s America, and the medieval cathedrals of Europe. Under our great priest, Jesus, all of God’s people commune together in Advent 2022.

David Baumann served for nearly 50 years as an Episcopal priest in the Dioceses of Los Angeles and Springfield. He has published nonfiction, science fiction, and short stories. Two exuberant small daughters make sure he never gets any rest.

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Ogbomoso – The Church of Nigeria
Church of the Transfiguration, Vail, Colorado
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