The Last Supper and Passion Account by St. John, Chapters 13-20
The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.
Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1946, reprinted in 2006.
This year, on Palm Sunday, the Passion Account of St. Luke was read. St.
Luke, a disciple of St. Paul, was a physician. Only in his Gospel account do
we learn of some of the physical afflictions of Our Lord, such as the drops
of sweat becoming blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Additionally, the
gentle and compassionate St. Luke gives us the wonderful account of the
repentance of the Good Thief.
On Good Friday, the Church reads the Passion Account of St. John to the
faithful. St. John’s Gospel has always inspired the Church, due to its
majesty and theological significance. St. Augustine says that the Gospel
soars like an eagle.
In St. John’s account of the Last Supper, Jesus washes the feet of the
apostles, teaching us the need for humble, caring service to others. Whereas
the first three Gospels have accounts of the institution of the Holy
Eucharist at the Last Supper, St. John writes the sublime Farewell
Discourses (Chapters 13-16) and ends with the magnificent High Priestly
Prayer for Our Blessed Savior (Chapter 17).
In St. John’s Passion Account, it is clear that the Beloved Disciple (St.
John) is a firsthand witness. St. John relates how Pilate repeatedly tries
to free Our Lord. But part of the ruling leaders, the Sanhedrin, demands the
death of Jesus. Others, like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemas, refuse to
take part in the condemnation. When it is finally clear that a riot is
beginning to break out, Pilate hands over Our Lord to be executed.
As Jesus is dying, St. John stands near the Blessed Mother. Our Lord’s last
thoughts are on her and the Church. He says to His mother: “Behold your
son.” And then to the Beloved Disciple, “Behold your Mother.” (Jn 19:26-27)
Even as Our Lord is dying, He has given His mother to the Church and the
Church to His mother.
After Jesus dies, a Roman soldier pierces the side of Christ. Blood and
water flow from this wound. Through His blood we have been redeemed, and in
His water we are baptized.
We learn the accounts of Our Lord’s Passion and Death predominately from the
Gospel accounts. Take some time with your family to read these accounts
during Holy Week. Each one tells us something different about the Last
Supper and the Passion. The four accounts give us the totality of the price
Jesus paid for our redemption. St. John’s account is singular in that the
Beloved Disciple was actually present for the Passion.
The Last Supper and Passion Accounts of the other Gospels are tremendously
useful to read as well. They are: St. Matthew’s account from Chapters 26-28;
St. Mark’s description from Chapters 14-15; and St. Luke’s description is
found in Chapters 21-23.
St. Paul tells us in the Epistle to the Romans that “death spread to all
men, because all men sinned.” (Rm 5:12) All people and nations are equally
responsible for this since everyone has sinned. For centuries, however, the
Jewish nation was unfairly blamed for the crucifixion of Our Lord. This has
led to many outbursts of violence against Jews. On October 28, 1965, the
Church defined this issue that had caused great pain between Christians and
Jews. In the document “Nostra Aetate” (Age of Ours), Vatican II states that
“neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be
charged with the crimes committed during His (Jesus) passion… Indeed, the
Church reproves every form of persecution against whomsoever it may be
directed.” (Paragraph 4) It is necessary to remember this important document
throughout the year and especially during Holy Week.
I hope you read St. John’s account of Our Lord’s Passion and Death. It
vividly demonstrates how Christianity is based on the suffering, death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Gospel Accounts of the Last Supper and Passion
Matthew, Chapters 26-28
Mark, Chapters 14-15
Luke, Chapters 21-23
John, Chapters 13-20
2013 Southern Nebraska Register Publication Dates
(Resume Jan 4, 2014)
November 27 (Wed.)