|This paper is a translation of the article: W. Kosek, Ostatnia Wieczerza a Msza Święta, [in:] J. Immakulata Adamska OCD, W zadziwieniu Eucharystią. Rok Eucharystyczny 2004-2005 [In Amazement of the Eucharist. The Eucharistic Year 2004-2005], Borne-Sulinowo 2004, pp. 246-260.|
This article was first published at
on 7. Dec 2022,
on the Eve of the Solemnity
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Here it was published on Thursday, 8 Dec 2022,
on The Solemnity
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The article describes the Mass as a celebration not primarily performed by a validly ordained priest who does so in the historical past after the Last Supper. The article shows the celebration performed by each priest as a celebration in the Upper Room, where Jesus celebrates it the night before His death at the cross at Golgotha. The man-celebrant and his Eucharistical community are moved by the power of God into the Upper Room every time when they celebrate Eucharist in their historically distant time from the time of Jesus’s celebration. The main celebrant of each Eucharist is Jesus celebrating in the Upper Room before His Death at Golgotha; every priest-celebrant participates in His priesthood in His historically once-time celebration.
Table of contents:
I want to share with you, o Dear Reader, my tentative attempt to articulate the truth of the Holy Mass as the making present of us in the Last Supper. It is quite the opposite of making present the Last Supper in our celebration of the Holy Mass – as it is according to the common understanding.
Until the encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, the Church followed the Council of Trent in focusing her understanding of the Holy Mass on the making present of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on Golgotha.
After studying the encyclical many times and incorporating into my life a long, persistent prayer of the Rosary after the Holy Mass, I am trying to understand the Holy Mass as “mysteriously simultaneous” with the Last Supper, while the time after Holy Mass as the time of making present of Jesus’ way after the Last Supper.
I am trying to show that at the Last Supper, after partaking of the traditional Paschal meal, the Lord Jesus made present of the Sacrifice on Golgotha ; every Holy Mass, therefore, also contains this making present because it is “mysteriously simultaneous” with the Last Supper.
I am also noticing that just as after giving Holy Communion to the Apostles, Jesus sang hymns with them, so in the Holy Mass after Holy Communion, there should be (according to the liturgical rules) a singing or prayer of praise.
The analyses of the Passover liturgy that I conducted a few months ago show me the significance of these hymns/prayers of praise: Israel sang them in remembrance of the hymns of Moses and Miriam, which all men and women sang with them as the one People of God, rescued by Him, rejoicing in their presence on the other side of the Red Sea (see Ex 15). Each Passover was not only an Old-Testament-making-present of Exodus from Egyptian slavery but also an Old-Testament-making-present of these hymns on the shore of rescue.
Similarly, Jesus sang hymns at the end of the Last Supper (see Mt 26:30; Mk 14:26) as all Jews who were used to singing hymns at the end of the Passover rite. However, the meaning of His singing seems to be different: just as the consecration that precedes this hymn in the rite of the Last Supper is the making present of Jesus’ sacrifice being the crossing of the sea of His Blood, so the singing of hymns is the making present of Jesus’ praise of the Father, which He as the Victorious Messiah pronounces with His new life: by Resurrection, return to the Upper Room, Ascension, Sending of the Holy Spirit.
At the Last Supper, that means yet before His Death, Jesus not only contemplated sacramentally His Death but also His Resurrection. The hymns He sang with the Apostles seem to be a liturgical “sign,” making His glory present during the liturgy.
The Holy Mass, as “mysteriously simultaneous” with the Last Supper, thus includes the making present of Jesus’ Sacrifice and the subsequent making present of His Glory in Resurrection, return to the Upper Room, Ascension, and Sending of the Holy Spirit.
The liturgical sequence: humiliation-exaltation, the counterpart of Jesus’ passage through Death to Life, is analogous to the ritual (liturgical sequence) of the Old Testament Passover: the humbling of Israel in bondage, the glorification of God by Israel on the shores of freedom.
Having presented the rite of the Last Supper / Holy Mass, I try to ask: does time after the Last Supper, filled by Jesus with the painful and then glorious doing of what the rite made present “forward,” have meaning today after every Holy Mass? It would seem that it does, that it is a divine kairos, or “opportune time” – an opportunity to actually accompany Jesus on the way He went after the Last Supper.
The answer is made possible by John Paul II’s encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia: the Holy Mass is the making present of the Last Supper. Thanks to the “mysterious simultaneity” between these two historically distant Events (between the Last Supper and the Holy Mass), Jesus, while celebrating the Last Supper on the night He was delivered (see 1 Cor 11:23), simultaneously – that is, by the same act of celebrating the Last Supper – celebrates every Holy Mass, historically celebrated in any day.
Explanation by analogy: If, a few hundred years ago, I had told a man that while in Poland, I could talk to someone in Rome, that I could look at him and be seen by him, I would have raised a justified suspicion. Today, however, a telephone with a camera gives such a possibility: interlocutors, equipped with these devices, can be with each other, at the same time belonging to distant points of space. A similar possibility was used by the Church during the canonization of St. Faustyna: both in Rome and Kraków-Łagiewniki, a set camera – screen was installed. Thanks to this, St. Faustina’s prophecy about her being raised to the altars was fulfilled unexpectedly and marvelously, when one sees from her times’ technical point of view but in a simple way from a nowadays technical point of view. What then was the vision of St. Faustina concerning her canonization? Namely, the saint had a vision, in the light of which the people gathered in Krakow were supposed to take part in the Roman ceremony! 
Man will never construct a device for meeting persons distant in time. Although it is possible to connect distant points of space through cables (or, more modernly, radio waves), it is not possible for a human being to connect distant points of time: a person from several hundred years ago cannot use a telephone to talk to someone from today.
What is impossible for man is no barrier for God. It is the Eucharistic liturgy that is the “cable” connecting the community gathered in the Upper Room on the night before the day of Christ’s Passion with the community gathered around the altar at any time in history.
Both communities are brought together by Jesus; moreover, both constitute one sole community, a holy assembly in which Jesus accomplishes the establishment of the New and Everlasting Covenant in his Blood.
Whenever we come to Holy Mass, so many times, we are “inter-connected” (“by-distance-connected”, “tele-connected”; “τῆλε-connected”, where Greek term “τῆλε” means “at a distance ) through centuries with Jesus and the Apostles, with the liturgy celebrated by the Lord Jesus in the Upper Room on the night before the day of His Passion. We always become participants in this one liturgy (the same one, not merely like this one!).
Holy ordination, the valid priestly ordination of the celebrant, is an unquestionable requirement for this extraordinary “inter-connection” to take place during the liturgy: The Church constantly reminds us that the minister (leitourgos – λειτουργός) at the Holy Mass is Christ, while the priest, seen at the altar, gives himself to Him so He could celebrate this liturgy through him. This liturgy is the liturgy of the Last Supper, as John Paul II points out when speaking of the role of priestly ordination:
“The ministry of priests […] is […] essential for validly linking the Eucharistic consecration to the sacrifice of the Cross and to the Last Supper.” 
Does not this final conviction contradict the statement that the Eucharist is “a repeating what Christ did at the Last Supper”?  At first glance, it may seem that to “repeat” – is to do “non-simultaneously”; hence the hasty answer: it is contradictory!
However, one must say that there is no contradiction because:
Priests celebrate at the same time as Christ not because they were contemporaries of Him historically (for all priests would have to have already existed the night before the day of His Passion, but it was not so – that would be absurd!)
No, it is not some strange, supra-historical existence of the priests that enables them to celebrate the Last Supper simultaneously with the Lord Jesus, but the normal, because by God’s appointment, the liturgical union of each of them (along with the entire Eucharistic community) with the Lord and His Apostles in the Upper Room. By God’s appointment, all those gathered by the Lord at His Last Supper are “mysteriously simultaneous” with Him, who is celebrating the Last Supper/Holy Mass.
From the above analysis, we can see that the celebration is said to be “repeated” not because it is not “mysteriously simultaneous” with the celebration of Jesus, but because one expresses in this way the fact that this celebration of Jesus is taking place “simultaneously” in millions of different sections of historical time.
In light of the “interlinking” analogy, it can be seen that through the divine “interlinking” between two historically distant events – the Last Supper and every other Holy Mass – Jesus, while celebrating the Last Supper on the night when He was betrayed (see 1Cor 11: 23), celebrates simultaneously every Holy Mass historically belonging to any other day. A single act of celebration is “inter-transmitted” from the Upper Room into historically distant segments of time so that He is present in a “mysteriously simultaneous” way both in the Upper Room and in those different segments of time.
We usually look at the Holy Mass from the position of our historical time and place, the time and place of celebration in 1920, 1930, 2000, and 2003 year… We say then, “Today here, during the Holy Mass, it is made present what Jesus accomplished as a saving act 2000 years ago in Jerusalem” – this is how we understand the mysterious simultaneity, “mysterious oneness in time between that Triduum and the passage of the centuries” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 5) .
Here we are trying to change the point of view – we are looking from the position of Jesus: He, celebrating the Last Supper on the night before the time of His Passion, sees not only the Twelve but sees every person from every other segment of time up to the end of time, every person gathered around a validly ordained celebrant lending his humanity to Jesus for the “inter-transmission into that other segment of time” of His Last Supper. Jesus looks at all the “inter-celebrations” (that is, the “inter-transmitted” celebrations of the Last Supper), at all the people participating in His one celebration of the Last Supper, He looks at the people actually participating in that Last Supper through “inter-connectedness.” Jesus looks and speaks familiar words, makes familiar gestures…
Let us add that this “inter-connection” truly takes us back to the Last Supper’s time and place! This reality is particularly clearly evidenced by the Catholic understanding of consecration as transubstantiation: consecration as a part of the Holy Mass is the transubstantiation of bread into Jesus’ Body, which is giving itself for us (τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν διδόμενον – Lk 22:19), and wine into His Blood, pouring itself for us (τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐκχυννόμενον – Lk 22:19). We are thus in the same situation as the Apostles, gathered in Upper Room at the Last Supper around Jesus on the night before His Passion, when after the meal and before Passion, they were sacramentally taken (“inter-taken”) from Upper Room to Golgotha. Participation in the Holy Mass is thus an “inter-participation” in the Last Supper, during which participants are “inter-taken” into the time and place of Christ’s sacrifice on Golgotha.
Reading the encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia carefully, we may have such difficulty in understanding the Holy Mass and, consequently, the Last Supper:
since after the consecration, which is the making present of the Offering of Jesus , we receive in Holy Communion His Glorified Body , how can we maintain that Holy Communion is a sacrificial banquet  and not a joyful fraternal encounter with the Risen, glorified Jesus ?
The answer to the difficulty posed above must be analogous to that given by Pope Pius XII  to his contemporaries:
Good Friday in the liturgical year is the time of making present Jesus’ Offering even though He has already seated as glorified at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
Just analogically is: although Jesus is already glorified at the time of consecration, although “the flesh of the Son of Man, given as food, is His body in its glorious state after the resurrection,”  the liturgical time of Holy Communion is the time of making present His Offering, and Holy Communion is the sacrificial banquet.
Within the frame of Holy Mass or Church year, Jesus opens in one segment of time the gate leading to His humiliation mystery and in another segment of time to His glory mystery. Jesus does not change, only the gates leading to other mysteries of His heart and His life change (Jesus’ life was and still is a revelation of the mysteries of His Heart, the meek and humble Heart of Almighty God!).
The Scriptures testify that at the Last Supper, after giving His sacramental Body and Blood to the Apostles, Jesus sang hymns with them (see Mt 26:30; Mk 14:26), crowning the entire liturgy of that night. Since Jesus celebrated the Last Supper as the liturgy of the New Covenant Passover (see Luke 22:15 – “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you”), this singing must be understood in analogy to the hymns crowning the Old Covenant Passover.
The hymns at the end of the Old Testament Passover were the making present of Moses’ hymn and Miriam’s hymn praising God for leading the people across the Red Sea to a shore inaccessible to the Egyptians (see Ex 15).
Jesus singing the hymns at the end of the Last Supper, after giving Holy Communion, seems to make present the time of the glorious victory, the new life, into which He was to enter after passing through the Abyss, the Death, in the sea of His Blood, poured on the Cross. Thus, even before His Death, Jesus sacramentally took the Apostles into Golgotha’s spacetime and then into His Glory’s spacetime.
“Inter-transfer” into the time of Christ’s Glory, which took place at the end of the Last Supper, was partaken by the Apostles then; at the end of each Holy Mass, this “inter-transfer” is partaken by its participants as “inter-participants” of the Last Supper.
Every Holy Mass mysteriously but indeed makes its participants present with Jesus in the Upper Room with the Apostles on the night when He was delivered. All those believers present with Jesus in the Upper Room within the Last Supper liturgy are sacramentally taken into His Offering on Golgotha’s spacetime and then into His Glory’s spacetime. This participation is “inter-participation.”
The notion of “inter-participation” is the linguistic consequence of the notion of “making present.” Namely, if we speak of the liturgical “making present” of a salvific event, we want to express in this way that the liturgical participants actually participate not only in the liturgy but essentially in that event.
“Inter-participation” is not “weaker” participation. The prefix “inter” indicates that one who historically belongs to a different segment of time than the event in which he is participating is actually participating in the event.
The liturgically “made present” salvific event is “mysteriously simultaneous” with the time of the liturgical celebration, whereby liturgical participants are “inter-participants” in the event, that is, participants in an event far distant from the historical time of their celebration.
In the analyses so far, we have seen how valuable it is to change the point from which we see the Holy Mass in relation to the Last Supper: viewed from the position of Jesus celebrating the Last Supper, we see each Holy Mass as “mysteriously simultaneously” celebrated by Him in every other segment of historical time.
The change in our viewpoint applies not only to the Holy Mass but also to the time after it. Jesus, over the centuries uniting Himself with all the participants of His unique and the only celebration, ends this celebration with liturgical hymns and then comes out of the Upper Room and historically makes what He has already included in the sacrament given them. Jesus sees all who accompany Him on this way (so painful in its first stage, the stage of humiliation) of historical realization of what He has concluded in the sacrament of New Covenant in His Body and Blood.
The time after Holy Mass is the “ opportune time” (Greek: kairos) for the truly authentic accompanying Jesus going on this way. Having been nourished by His Most Holy Bread, the food of the way, every believer can accompany Him. This Sacred Food of union (communio personarum) seems to be given so that man may desire to go with Jesus…
To want to go… to want to have compassion with the Savior… to want to marvel at Love…
Look, this Love is knocking at my heart with acquiescence to the destruction of all its temporal visibility…
This Love awakens tears of love and repentance in my heart… O Jesus Christ, bathed in a bloody sweat during the time of Gethsemane… You suffer so much for me, for us… You do not complain to us, but You ask us to look at You for once and wake up from sleep to life… We do not see; our eyes are still closed in sleep… The work of salvation… It is as if it were Your personal matter… it is as if it were not ours. We… yes, we will accept it from You but not now. Now sleep overwhelms us…
Now sleep, sleep, sleep…
I think I hear Your voice… I think it is Your words, “So, you could not keep watch with Me for one hour?” (Mt 26:40).
No, I think it is a dream…
Someone is speaking over me again, “Do not arouse or awaken my love until she pleases…” (Song 2:7; 3:5; 8:4).
Do I have the strength to love? Do I have the time?… Do I have the time?… Yes, I have the strength, I have the time, I have everything I need for this way with You – You have fed me with Yourself, with the Bread of Life, I have the power from You, I have the ability not to sleep, to go, to accompany You on the way of salvation, in prayer…
“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Lk 22:42)
Now we hear Your voice, Your words, “So, you could not keep watch with Me for one hour?” (Mt 26:40).
We keep watch and cry out, “O God, help Your Son in the hour of sorrow and distress, help our Brother who alone can bring us out of bondage! Sustain Him to endure to the end and manage to save us, o God!”
“Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him” (Lk 22:43).
Thank God! Jesus has risen to continue His salvific way toward Golgotha to accomplish the liberation of humanity from the devil’s bondage once and for all. We are going with Him.
It is the way up towards the Cross… it is the way full of salvific toil. This way is radiant with the glory of the victory, whom “One going forth” will give birth after His last breath… It will do it through the miracle of His coming out of the Abyss… Now we are with You, o Jesus, on the way of holy communion, of holy union with God who is suffering as a man… It is the way of being together with You, o Jesus the Messiah… of being according to the human way of co-feeling…
Immaculate Mary was a help to Him when He was conceived in Her womb as a man and needed Her milk as a baby and when He slowly grew as a child… God really wanted to enter into a situation where He would need man’s help – first service to the body and then to the soul. And God has made it possible for each of us to really give Him that necessary help, that natural – according to human nature – nourishment to Him in that murderous effort to free us from the bonds of distrust, of ingratitude toward God. The time after receiving Holy Communion provides this real opportunity.
In all that can be experienced by those who, thanks to Holy Communion, accompany Jesus on his way towards glory through death, the most important thing is their mutual presence. From this deep communion of spirit, born of a shared way, a new man is slowly being born, formed according to the mysteries of His Heart.
Going with the Lord Jesus as confrere of Him, Adam’s son experiences the depths of the Tree of Life’s knowledge. Through the communion of the way, he experiences how much God loves him and how tremendously His Heart was wounded at the beginning of humankind when He was put under suspicion and accusation of a hidden lack of love in Him (see Gen 3:5).
The consequences of Adam’s original guilt are taken away through a shared pilgrimage with the Savior: on the way of successive dying with Him, God puts an end to spiritual death – a man with Jesus is resurrected to a new life in which eyes correctly see the hidden mystery of the love of the Heart of God: this love is without measure…
The man who goes with Jesus is not alone. They all are wandering together – they all united miraculously above centuries… all, who are nourished by His Body and Blood… all the members of New Israel, emerging from “Egypt” of sin into the “Promised Land” of the freedom of God’s children. The New Moses, Jesus Christ, leads His People out after each Eucharist, opening the time of Exodus: a time of contemplative passage from the Cenacle of the Last Supper through the Abyss of Death to the Cenacle of the Resurrection.
We must trust that new people will join His fellow pilgrims, that the effort of sacramental contemplation will unite with Jesus us, the members of His one Body, and that our mutual unity, our love in the Holy Spirit, will be visible. And then the world will believe, according to the Lord’s words, “May they be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me” (Jn 17:23) .
A significant problem for the mind is properly understanding the time relationships between salvific events and their liturgical representation (and making them present!) and between Jesus’ life in historical time and His life in eternity. Hence, one often does not make an effort to understand this. However, this is not a safe way out of the situation, for one then functions with some vague conviction, often erroneous. Therefore, with the help of God, one should try to understand these temporal relations correctly and check the correctness of their understanding. The criterion for determining the solution’s correctness is this: neither the solution itself nor the conclusions drawn from it will ever prove contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium of the Church.
A very instructive example in this area was written by Pope Pius XII in the encyclical Mediator Dei. Some theologians of his day did not understand that Jesus Christ as being glorified after the Passion can be sitting at the right hand of the Father and at the same time, thanks to the liturgy, be at the time of His earthly life : whether in the time of His Birth, His public activity, His Passion and Death, or His Resurrection and Ascension. The Pope wrote:
162. From what We have already explained, Venerable Brethren, it is perfectly clear how much modern writers are wanting in the genuine and true liturgical spirit who, deceived by the illusion of a higher mysticism, dare to assert that attention should be paid not to the historic Christ but to a “pneumatic” or glorified Christ. They do not hesitate to assert that a change has taken place in the piety of the faithful by dethroning, as it were, Christ from His position; since they say that the glorified Christ, who liveth and reigneth forever and sitteth at the right hand of the Father, has been overshadowed and in His place has been substituted that Christ who lived on earth. For this reason, some have gone so far as to want to remove from the churches images of the divine Redeemer suffering on the cross.
163. But these false statements are completely opposed to the solid doctrine handed down by tradition. […] In the sacred liturgy, the whole Christ is proposed to us in all the circumstances of His life […] 
For similar reasons, these theologians had difficulties in understanding the value of the cult of the Blessed Sacrament outside of the Holy Mass, so the Pope wrote:
134. Nor is it to be admitted that by this Eucharistic cult men falsely confound the historical Christ, as they say, who once lived on earth, with the Christ who is present in the august Sacrament of the altar, and who reigns glorious and triumphant in heaven and bestows supernatural favors. On the contrary, it can be claimed that by this devotion the faithful bear witness to and solemnly avow the faith of the Church that the Word of God is identical with the Son of the Virgin Mary, who suffered on the cross, who is present in a hidden manner in the Eucharist and who reigns upon His heavenly throne .
The “interlinking” analogy allows me to genuinely consciously participate in what is being made present during and after the Holy Mass. Though I see a priest, people, and a 21st-century church, awareness of being taken back in time into the night immediately before Jesus’ Passion day, into the space of Jerusalem, is overwhelming. It helps in prayer. It helps to be with Jesus and love Jesus.