Sunday, April 17, 2016

Seeing the Diciples at the Last Supper

On the opinion page of the Peace Weekly, the columnist introduces us to an aspect of the Last Supper that is very easy to miss and which many of the artists were quick to see and express in their masterpieces.

Homilies, was the subject of one of the classes the columnist was taking at a School of Theology. In many of the mission stations, catechists take the place of deacons and priests in the administration and pastoral work of the mission station. The priest usually visits the station once a month. Consequently, those in the formation programs for catechetical work prepare themselves to give sermons.

When the columnist's turn came to give a sermon, it was the passage in Luke 22:14-23 on the Last Supper. He mentions he knew the story very well: Jesus was showing his love to his disciples he was leaving them his body and blood. " I will not drink from the fruit of the vine until the coming of the reign of God." He was telling them this was his last supper with them.

During the last visit to Jerusalem a few days earlier the crowd was all enthusiastic hoping that the time had come to get rid of Roman rule and Jesus was the new general and leader. The disciples were even more excited. They were all dreaming the same dream despite the fact that Jesus told them repeatedly of his coming death they were not listening.

That night these words did not make any impression, after seeing what they did, how could they? He was not going to die. That night they had no inkling this was the last meal and testament nor were they interested. They were dreaming of a bright future and fighting over who would have the first places.

Leonardo Da Vinci, Battista Tiepolo, Albrecht Durer and Tintoretto expressed this very clearly in their paintings of the Last Supper. The columnist was surprised to see the greed on their faces; the distracted environment, self-righteousness and signs of betrayal filled him with dismay, sorrow and curiosity. They were even crazily pouring wine into the crocks, which made them just like all of us, even after their experience of Jesus.

Mencius said: when  we are embarrassed at not being embarrassed, we will not do things that are embarrassing. The disciples after the Resurrection did feel great embarrassment at their behavior, and we know how remorse and contrite they were, giving their lives completely to Jesus. He concludes the article with his understanding changed about the Last Supper: before only Jesus and holiness. He never saw the human embarrassing behavior of the disciples.

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