The 4th Cup – Good Friday

Beloved in Jesus Christ,
today is Good Friday. It is ‘Good,’ because it is the day that the Son of God has died for our sins.
.
We have just heard the events of the Passion read from Holy Scripture. We will Venerate the Cross, and we will receive Holy Communion – the Hosts that were consecrated last night will be brought out for us, to receive today.
.
But notice, today there will be no Consecration; you will not hear the priest say, ‘This is My Body, this is my Blood.’ There will be no chalice; you will not hear the Eucharistic prayer said by the priest.
.
So many would say, ‘then this is not a Mass.’ But let’s note something. This priest here, is wearing a chasuble, it is required. The chasuble is ONLY worn by a priest when he is at Mass, not for a prayer service. So what gives? Are we still at the Mass from last night or something?
.
At the time of Our Lord, the Passover was celebrated by sacrificing a lamb, and then the meal which included 4 cups of wine. The 1st cup was offered, then a 2nd, then the Cup of Blessing said over the Lamb; a hymn is sung, and finally the 4th cup, the cup of consummation, completed the Passover.
.
When Jesus offers the Passover with his disciples at the Last Supper, what happens? In the Gospels, the 1st cup of wine seems not to be mentioned. But St. Luke reports to us the 2nd cup, and then the 3rd cup – the cup of blessing. But no lamb is mentioned. I guess that’s because the Lamb is sitting there at the table, Christ is the Lamb, who will be sacrificed for us. Then the Scriptures tell us that a hymn was sung. Ok. Everything matches up with the Passover meal.
.
But then there is supposed to be the 4th cup of wine to conclude the Passover – the cup of consummation. But it is not mentioned. The 4th and final cup of wine is not mentioned, and so it seems that the Passover has not actually concluded. We ARE told, that the Lord went to the Garden of Olives to pray, and there he said: ‘Father, if it is possible, let this CUP pass by me.’ So our Lord mentions a ‘Cup.’
.
Then later, as Jesus is carrying the cross, soldiers offered him a cup of wine mixed with gall – there is another cup of wine – but Christ did not take it. If that was the 4th cup of the Passover, well, he was not ready to end the Passover yet.
.
But let’s note today what we read in the Holy Gospel: As Our Lord hung on that cross, he said: ‘I thirst.’ He is signaling for the 4th cup. ‘Now there was a vessel filled with common wine, so they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop, and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine he said, ‘It is finished.’ In my bible, the translation reads, ‘It is consummated.’
.
So here is the mystery of the missing 4th cup. Our Lord concludes the Passover sacrifice on the cross. The Lamb is now sacrificed, the Lamb of God.
.
Last night, at the end of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, there was no dismissal; there was no final blessing – because Mass continues. We are still in Mass. Because what is Mass, really? It is both, the Lord’s Supper and the Sacrifice of the Cross. And while the Passover is complete, the resurrection still must come. And so, the Mass continues to Easter.
.
The Blood of the Passover Lamb protected the people from the angel of death, but that was only a Type. The Blood of Jesus protects us from Eternal Death, and obtains for us the hope of our own resurrection, in the life of the world to come. Amen.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation