When Jesus passed out pieces of bread to the disciples he said “This is my body. I’m giving it for you—for your sake. When you do this, remember me” (Luke 22:19). Was he talking about what became the ritual of communion, also known as Mass? Or was he talking about any time we eat a meal?
Jesus didn’t say what he was talking about. He did not indicate if he was telling them to set up the ritual we call communion, Mass, or the Eucharist. They were eating the Passover meal, a symbolic meal that Jews ate every year as a way of remembering how God freed the Jews from slavery in Egypt in the time of Moses. In addition to remembering this, Jesus is asking his disciples to remember him as well.
Christians began doing that right away when they met together and had a meal. Paul described the meal in a letter he wrote to Christians in what is now Corinth, Greece. “When we pray a blessing over the cup during the Lord’s Supper, aren’t we linking ourselves to the Messiah and experiencing the blood he shed for us? Aren’t we doing much the same with the bread we eat, experiencing the broken body of the Messiah? There are many of us around the Lord’s Table. But because there’s just one loaf of bread that we all share, we are one people” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17 Casual English Bible).
Reprinted from the Leader’s Guide & Atlas for Luke