Luke 20:1-8 Christ came to teach and not engage in a battle of wills. While he always answered sincere questions, he would not always respond to those who quizzed him with cynicism or with the intent of trapping him by his own words. To those who asked questions out of ill intent, he answered with a question that his interrogators could not answer. (CCC 582)
Ch 20:9-19 The Parable of the Wicked Tenants is a clear allegory of salvation history in which the vineyard owner is God, the tenants are the Jews of the Old Covenant, and the servants are God’s prophets, who were sent to the tenants but rejected. After the owner’s son himself is killed, the Father unleashes his judgment. The parable was a warning originally aimed at the Jewish leaders and to anyone rejecting Jesus as the Messiah. The rejection of Christ results in the loss of moral and spiritual health and true happiness. (CCC 587)
Ch 20:17-18 Christ quoted Psalm 118:22 and applied it to himself. He is the rejected cornerstone who became the foundation of a new Temple, the Church of the New Covenant. He then alluded to the prophets Isaiah, who called the Lord a stumbling block, and Daniel, who had a vision of God annihilating earthly kingdoms with a large stone and establishing his own kingdom instead (cf. Is 8:14-15; Dn 2:44-45). (CCC 587, 756)
Ch 20:20-26 The Caesars in the Roman Empire presented themselves as gods and required worship from their subjects. Coins were minted displaying an image of the Caesar under whose reign they were produced. The Jewish authorities laid a trap for Christ: if he were to reply that Jews must pay the tax, they could turn people against Jesus by spreading the word that he supported Caesar or that he did not support Israel’s independence, but if he were to say that Jews should not pay the tax, the Jewish authorities could report to the Romans that he was a revolutionary. Instead, Christ’s response simultaneously supported the obligation to pay the tax and yet drew a clear distinction between the obligations to Caesar and God. “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” even today provides the foundation for reconciling the obligation of the faithful to serve and respect both Church and state. The social teaching of the Church emphasizes the legitimacy and limits of civil authority, the proper relationship between the individual and society, the primacy of the common good, and the dignity of every human person. (CCC 2409, 2444-2446, 2254-2256, 2420-2425)
Ch 20:27-47 This question about marriage is another obvious attempt to entrap Christ. In Heaven, the earthly circumstances closely linked to marriage no longer exist.
Ch 20:37-38 On the question of the resurrection of the dead, the Pharisees held the true doctrine, and Christ faulted the Sadducees for their denial of the truth. Since God referred to himself as the Lord of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the present tense, it is to be understood that these patriarchs must still be living beyond their earthly deaths. (CCC 205)
Ch 21:1-4 The story of the widow’s gift to the treasury reminds us that it is not the size of the gift that matters but our willingness to give everything we have to God. This kind of faith-filled generosity is necessary to be an effective witness that Christ is the ultimate meaning of our lives. (CCC 2544)
Ch 21:5-36 The disciples’ admiration for the Temple provided an occasion for Christ to predict once again the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple at the hands of the Romans. Many hardships would await the present generation, including false prophets and natural catastrophes. For those who remain faithful, hatred, betrayal, persecution, and even death will be their destiny; however, they will be assisted and strengthened by Christ, who will provide them with the necessary wisdom in their time of trial. The imagery offers a foretaste of another event, the Second Coming of Christ, which will also be accompanied by signs and will culminate in the Final Judgment. Despite the signs, no one knows the precise moment of the end of the world, so we must stand ready at all times by striving to lead a life of prayer and charity. (CCC 2612)
Ch 21:8 Many will come in my name: Historians note that numerous false prophets around the first century claimed to be the Messiah, nearly all of them revolutionaries promising political liberation from the Romans. False prophets who knowingly teach error and lead others astray commit sins against justice and charity. (CCC 2485)
Ch 21:12 Christ reminded his disciples that persecution would be their lot and of the final trial that the Church must suffer before he comes again. (CCC 675, 852)
Ch 21:24 Here Christ used descriptive language from several Old Testament accounts of previous occasions when Jerusalem had been destroyed.
Times of the Gentiles: God would allow Gentile powers (the Romans) to vanquish Israel and establish their dominion. (CCC 58, 674)
Ch 21:27 They will see the Son of man...great glory: The image applies both to the establishment of the New Covenant and to the Second Coming. Christ’s kingdom will go through hardship and suffer persecution while it reaches its perfection at the end of time. (CCC 671, 697)
Ch 21:33 Heaven and earth...not pass away: This refers to all of creation. God’s Word will always be applicable to the particular situation of every individual in every culture and in every time period. (CCC 326, 1994)
CH 22:1-6 The “opportune time” that the Devil had been seeking to destroy Christ since his failed temptations in the desert (cf. Lk 4:13) included the betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot. It was an opportune time as well for the enemies of Christ, who were seeking a way to get rid of him. (CCC 538)
Ch 22:1 Feast of Unleavened Bread: The first day of the Jewish Passover, which commemorated Israel’s freedom from Egypt, was called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For the next six days of this feast, only bread prepared without yeast would be consumed by faithful Jews. The faithful of the Church are called to be “leaven in the world” whose word and example influences society for the better (cf. 1 Cor 5:7-8). (CCC 854, 929, 940)
Ch 22:3 Satan entered into Judas: Ultimately, it was the Devil who would prompt him to betray Christ to the Jewish authorities. (CCC 2852)
Ch 22:7-20 The Passover meal required ritual preparation of various foods. The feast recalled their freedom from slavery in Egypt, when God had asked Israelite households to sacrifice a spotless lamb and mark their lintels and doorposts with its blood so that the tenth plague, the killing of the firstborn, would not affect them, i.e., the Angel of Death would pass over them. God had instructed them to observe the Passover annually in commemoration of this great event (cf. Ex 12:3-28). At the Last Supper, Christ transformed the Passover feast into the Sacrifice of his own Body and Blood for the salvation of humanity. In the New Covenant, Christ himself is the Paschal Lamb who is sacrificed. It was here at the Last Supper that he instituted the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Holy Orders. (CCC 1151, 1339-1340)
Ch 22:15-18 Christ longed to fulfill his Father’s will and to bring about the redemption of humanity. In establishing the Eucharist, he pointed to the eternal banquet in the Kingdom of God, where the Passover would find its ultimate fulfillment. The liturgy celebrated by the Church is a reflection and sharing in the heavenly liturgy. (CCC 607, 1130, 1402-1403)
Ch 22:17 He took a chalice: The Passover meal included the ritual sharing of the four cups of wine. The cup referred to here is probably the third cup, the cup of blessing. (CCC 1334, 1396)
Ch 22:19 Given thanks: A form of the Greek eucharisteo is used here; the Sacrament of the Eucharist is, in essence, the Sacrament of Thanksgiving.
Broke it: Early Christians commonly referred to the Eucharist as the “breaking of the bread.”
This is my body: The bread of the Eucharist becomes the true Body of Christ, and the wine of the Eucharist becomes his true Blood. This act is called the consecration, and the term describing the change is called transubstantiation, which signifies that the substance of the bread and wine is changed into the Body and Blood of Christ even though the accidents, or appearances, of bread and wine remain the same and, in fact, retain the same physical and molecular qualities they had prior to the consecration. As St. Thomas Aquinas taught, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist “cannot be apprehended by the senses, but only by faith, which relies on divine authority.” (STh III, 75, 1).
Do this in remembrance of me: Christ entrusted his Apostles with the celebration of the Eucharist to perpetuate the Sacrifice of the Cross throughout the world until he comes again. This event essentially marked their ordination as priests and instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders. The very words of Christ in instituting the Eucharist attest to its sacrificial character. (CCC 610-611, 621. 1322-1329, 1365-1366, 1374-1381)
Ch 22:20 Christ offered the cup of the New Covenant at the Last Supper and afterward accepted the cup of suffering from the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. (CCC 612)
Ch 22:21-30 Christ did not directly identify his betrayer, leading the Apostles to speculate over his identification. A discussion then began about which of them is the greatest Apostle. While all would have places of honor at the heavenly banquet, their mission was not one of being honored but of serving others with selfless concern according to the example of Christ. The successors of the Apostles, the bishops of the Church, although they govern with authority, are to do so in a spirit of service. (CCC 551, 787, 894-896)
Ch 22:30 Sit on thrones: The Apostles represent the twelve tribes of Israel; they are the foundation stones of the Church, the New Jerusalem. (CCC 551, 765)
Ch 22:21-34 The events that unfolded in Jerusalem tested the faith of the Apostles. The influence of Satan affected not just Judas, who betrayed Christ, but Simon Peter as well, who would deny even knowing Christ. Aware of this, Christ prayed specifically for Peter’s fidelity. As the “rock” of the Church Christ founded, Peter and his successors in the papacy enjoy a special strength and grace from Christ as they carry on their work as the Vicar of Christ on earth. They, above all, are responsible for guarding and teaching the contents of the Faith as well as serving as the focal point of unity in the Church. As the First Ecumenical Council of the Vatican declared, “The See of Peter always remained unstained by all error, according to the divine promise that our Savior made to the chief of his disciples” (Pastor Aeternus, 3). This assertion also takes into account other evidence from Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, including the statements of Christ to Peter when, at Caesarea Philippi, he pronounced that Peter would be the rock of his Church, against which “the powers of death shall not prevail” (Mt 16:18).
Ch 22:35-38 Christ’s quote is from Isaiah’s prophecy about the Suffering Servant (cf. Is 53:12). The response of the Apostles, in taking Christ’s comments about swords literally, reveals once again that they failed to understand his mission.
It is enough: The Kingdom of God will not be established by violence as evidenced by Christ’s later response to a disciples use of a sword during his arrest (cf. Lk 22:49-51). (CCC 623)
Proverbs 26:18-19 Rather than harmless practical jokes, this proverb indicates a deception or trick that causes pain, inconvenience, offense, or hardship. The act of hurting or embarrassing someone with a lie or joke can do a lot of damage to personal relationships and even to reputations. Paul warned against such behaviors when he advised the Ephesians to avoid “silly talk” and “levity, which are not fitting” (cf. Eph 5:4). (CCC 2479-2481)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Jesus chooses the time of the Passover (Lk 22:1) as the moment in which to come to Jerusalem and die for his people.
During the Passover feast, the people were to eat unleavened bread, remembering the Israelites’ hurried flight from Egypt, and they were to kill and eat an unblemished, male lamb, recalling the sacrificed lambs whose blood protected Israel’s firstborns from death.
The Passover was the greatest feast celebrated in Israel, as it commemorated the most important event in the history of Israel, the Exodus (Ex 12).
Jesus takes on the meaning of this feast and transforms it into something even greater. Jesus, the “Lamb of God” as John the Baptist proclaimed (Jn 1:36), offers himself as the new Passover lamb of his new Exodus.
He who is the “Bread of Life” (Jn 6:48) offers the bread and wine of the Passover, transforming them into his Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins (Mt 26:28).
As Moses lifted up the serpent to free rebellious Israel from the bite of the adder, so the Son of Man will be lifted up on the cross (Jn 3:14) to deliver the rebellious human race from their fall to the serpent’s temptation in the Garden of Eden.
Just as the sacrifice and blood of the lamb set Israel free from Egyptian bondage, so will Jesus conquer sin and death and free all mankind from the shackles of sin.
On the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus celebrates his Last Supper with his apostles.
During the meal Jesus gives thanks to God (Mt 26:27).
Even before his suffering and death, Jesus offers thanksgiving, trusting in the Father for his deliverance from death, a deliverance that will come mightily in the resurrection.
This first Eucharist, and Jesus’ passion, is re-presented in each Mass, where Christians are called to join the offering of their own lives to Christ’s offering and to give thanks for their deliverance from sin.
Just as the manna in the desert sustained the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings, so the bread of Christ’s Body in the Eucharist sustains Christians as they journey to the Promised Land of heaven.
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible By Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)