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Gospel for Sunday, June 6 : Mark 14: 12-16.22-26


12On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover was sacrificed, his disciples said to him: “Where do you want us to go to prepare so that you can eat the Passover?”. 13Then he sent two of his disciples, saying to them: “Go into the city and a man will meet you with a jug of water; follow him, 14and where he enters, say to the master of the house: The Master says: Where is my room, that I may eat the Passover there with my disciples? 15He will show you upstairs a large room with carpets, ready; prepare there for us.” 16The disciples went and, having entered the city, found as he had told them and prepared for the Passover… 22While they were eating he took bread and, having said the blessing, he broke it and gave it to them, saying: “Take, this is my body”.23Then he took the cup and gave thanks, he gave it to them and they all drank from it. 24And he said: “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant shed for many. 25Truly I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26And after singing the hymn, they went out towards the Mount of Olives.

Mark 14: 12-16.22-26

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

The Eucharist is a prophetic “mime”.

Being eaten by men: When Jesus institutes the Eucharist, he first of all performs a prophetic mime, a gesture which, in the style of the great Prophets of the Old Testament, aims to give us important revelations. What he does at the last supper is “the last parable of Jesus” (J. Jeremias). Offering the bread, he says: “This is my body given for you”; offering the cup: “This is my blood, shed for you” (Lk 22,19-20): the first meaning of this action is that he gave himself totally to men, that his life was a full oblation for the life of his brothers, which was entirely consumed for them, and which he became, offering himself for them like bread and wine, their support and their survival. “In front of his disciples, Jesus mimes his death, representing it before them; it is the attitude of a prophet and a martyr that brings the mission to its completion” (A. Marchadour).

The voluntariness of the gift: There are two underlinings that Jesus wants to give to his gesture. The first is the absolute voluntariness of his giving of himself: his becoming man until death is not given by the inevitability of chance, but is his free choice of love (Jn 10.18). Jesus therefore voluntarily accepts to the full the sharing of him with man: he does not hold back, he does not run away. He deliberately offers himself.

The totality of the gift: The second aspect of the prophetic mime is the absolute totality of his giving of himself: Christ, “having loved his own who were in the world, loved them to the end” (Jn 13.1), until the supreme fulfillment of the love, which is giving one’s life for those one loves (see Jn 15:13): the bread eaten and the wine drunk are the sign of this “consuming yourself” for your loved ones, doing everything for them.

The command to imitate Jesus: Two commands accompany the prophetic action: the first is: “Take, eat…; drink” (Mk 14,22): the disciples are not only passive objects of this self-giving of Christ, but are invited to take an active part in it, to participate in his love, to accept his life as a gift, to fill themselves consciously and responsible for him. From this comes the second command: “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22.19; 1 Cor 11.24): Jesus orders that his disciples also make themselves bread and drink for others, that they become food for all, let them be “eaten” by their brothers.

The importance of Eucharistic mime: In the biblical reading of mime the first meaning is therefore the invitation to total gift to others, following the example of the Master. The other meanings (the real presence of Christ, the sacrifice of the New Covenant, an eschatological sign…) are certainly there, but they are secondary to this and from this they draw light and understanding.

“Flesh and Blood”

“Basar” and “wadam”, flesh and blood, were also the two parts of the sacrifice of the Covenant. But now there are no other sacrificial victims to offer, there are no more lambs to sacrifice; Jesus is the one who sacrificed himself for us, and he definitively reconciled us with the Father.

The symbolism of wine has very complex characters in biblical literature: it is the symbol of the Covenant between God and men after the flood (Gen 9.20-21), it is the seal of the union of love between the beloved and the beloved (Song 1.2-4; 2.4; 7.3-10), and Jesus himself presents himself as “the true vine” (Jn 15.1).

The Eucharist is food for life

Eating is essential to live: the Eucharist is food for life: “Jesus replied: «I am the bread of life… Because my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink»” (Jn 6, .

The Eucharist assimilates us to Christ

For the Jews, the food did not become the person who eats it, but the person who eats becomes like the food ingested: this is why there was so much attention to “pure” and “impure” foods. The Eucharistic bread and wine that we eat therefore do not become part of us, but we become the very Christ that we eat. By eating bread and drinking Eucharistic wine we are “Christified”, we are transformed into the Lord: “Jesus said: «Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will resurrect him on the last day»” ( Jn 6,53-54.56-57). By nourishing ourselves with Christ we become him! Maximus the Confessor (580-662) said: “The Eucharist transforms the faithful into itself”.

The Eucharist is a “meal of communion” with God

In the Old Testament we often speak of “communion meals”. The Eucharist is a community moment par excellence (1 Cor 10,16-18). It is no coincidence that the Eucharist is instituted within a banquet and has been celebrated as such since the beginning of the Church (Acts 2.42-48). The first Christians said of themselves, introducing themselves to the pagans: “Aras non habemus”, “We have no altars”, underlining the lack of traditional sacrifice in Christianity, replaced by the Eucharistic banquet. At the beginning there was no altar, there was only the table. The convivial aspect is primary for understanding the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is not an individual sacrament: it is always an opportunity for a true alliance with men, for solidarity with them. Making it an intimate retreat with the Lord without living this experience together with the whole Church and the whole world is to distort the indispensable convivial meaning of the Eucharist.

The Eucharist announces the Coming

The Eucharist, while it is the proclamation of the first advent of the Lord, is also the announcement of his second and definitive coming (1 Cor 11.26). “With the Eucharist we assimilate, so to speak, the “secret” of the resurrection. Therefore Saint Ignatius of Antioch rightly defined the Eucharistic Bread as “a medicine of immortality, an antidote against death”” (John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003, n. 18).

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


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