April 01, 2021 | by Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño shares a message for Maundy Thursday of Holy Week grounded in Mark 14:12-25 in which she invites us to wonder with her what it might have felt like to have been fed by Jesus.
Click here to hear the message.
You may also read the text of Bishop Minerva's message here:
The Passover with the Disciples
12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 13 So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16 So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
17 When it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18 And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19 They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, “Surely, not I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread[a] into the bowl[b] with me. 21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”
The Institution of the Lord’s Supper
22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the[c] covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.
Mark 14:12-25 NRSV
Today we remember the Passover meal that Jesus celebrated with his disciples. With the sacrifice of a lamb he and his disciples would join all who were gathered in Jerusalem to thank God for saving their ancestors from the plague of the death of the first-born when they were slaves in Egypt. A stain from the blood of a lamb above the doors of their humble homes had been the sign of an enslaved Israelite family. By God’s saving grace the angel of death had passed over their homes and did not touch their first-born sons.
A slaughtered lamb at the Passover meal would become symbolic of the lamb’s sacrifice for the redemption of God’s people from their slavery and suffering. Soon Jesus would become the sacrificial lamb. But before then he would eat the Passover meal with his disciples.
Jesus fed the disciples at that sacred table that with gratitude we remember at the sacrament of Holy Communion.
I wonder what it felt like to be fed by Jesus.
The 12 disciples were like the rest of us who claim the name of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Committed to Jesus, loving him, and following him wherever he went knowing that he was the One sent by God. But sometimes even their best efforts failed them. Just like us. Sometimes they did not understand Jesus. Sometimes they acted in ways that contradicted the heart of Jesus, and sometimes they betrayed him. But Jesus feeds them ALL. Knowing themselves they must have felt gratitude, humility, deep love and even shame as Jesus fed them. Don’t we all have some sense of how it must have felt to have been fed by Jesus?
I remember a moment in my own life when I came to the communion table to be fed by Jesus. I had broken a promise I had made to God and it was laying heavy on my heart. I could not sleep, and I could not eat, but I knew that I needed to come to the Lord’s table.
I received the bread and held it in my hand feeling so very undeserving. Then I took the cup and the depth of the sin I carried within me came forth full force. My hand began to shake uncontrollably. I could not hold the cup steady. I was so afraid that I would spill the precious cup. I steadied my right hand with my left and drank it quickly. Leaving the table with my head bowed down, praying for forgiveness all the way back into the congregation, I felt as if everyone could see my sin.
But by the time I sat down in my place, I felt an inner strength. I knew what I needed to do. I determined right then and there to set my life straight. It took time but every step of the way I felt a lifting of the burden until one day I felt joy again!
At his table Jesus had fed me mercy, forgiveness, strength, courage, and even joy! I sometimes wonder what my life would have been if I had not come to the Lord’s table that day to be fed by him. I will be eternally grateful to God that when I came to the table of Christ our Lord I was not shunned or rejected but welcomed and fed.
One thing we never have to wonder about is what will happen to us at the Lord’s table. Friends, we will be welcomed! We will be fed! We will be forgiven! We will be given strength and courage and joy! We will be loved unconditionally! Jesus will feed us ALL!
Blessed Maundy Thursday to you all. See you at the Lord’s Table!
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño is Resident Bishop of the California-Nevada Conference of The United Methodist Church.