The Last Supper. You know, the picture with Jesus in the middle and all the apostles gathered around, conveniently sitting on the same side of the table so we can see their faces!
Yesterday, I was delighted to hear an eighth grader talking to the first graders about the Last Supper. Hanging in the first grade hallway, which they walk by dozens of times a day, is this classic image. But how often have they noticed it? (For that matter, how often have I noticed it? I admit, I had to go look because I didn’t remember seeing it.)
Mrs. Alishouse had been discussing the image in her classroom. She asked how many students have this hanging in their homes and which room it is in. When her Junior High TA stopped by to assist in the afternoon, she assigned him the task to take a few students at a time into the hallway to discuss the picture. He asked them some basic questions:
“Who’s in the middle? Who are the men with Jesus? Which one is St. Peter? Who is the youngest apostle? What are they eating? What does it become?”
My heart was touched by the beauty of this interchange on so many levels! First, that a junior high boy is able to share his faith freely. Second, that first graders and eighth graders get to develop a relationship in our school to feel united as a family. Third, that our teachers take time like this on a regular basis to provide tangible experiences with our Catholic Faith. It’s a win-win-win situation!
As we continue through Lent, the image of Jesus at the Last Supper is a good reminder of the self-offering that Jesus provides for us at every moment. Not only did He die on the cross for us, but He also gave us a means to have His physical Presence with us always in the Eucharist. It reminds me of the famous prayer composed by St. Thomas Aquinas:
O sacred banquet, in which Christ is received, the memory of His Passion is renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
V. You have given them bread from heaven:
R. Containing in itself all sweetness.
O God, who under a wonderful Sacrament has left us a memorial of Thy Passion; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to reverence the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, that we may ever feel within ourselves the fruit of Thy Redemption: Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
As we celebrate the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter tomorrow with a Eucharistic procession and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the day, may we remember that our time of Lenten penance is just a foreshadowing of the union Jesus wants to have with each of us on a daily basis, until we reach eternity.
May you continue to have a Blessed Lent!