And now, while they were eating, most probably at the end, Jesus takes that transcendent and at the same time simple attitude that the Apostles know well, keeps silent for a few moments and performs the institution of the Eucharist.
The Lord anticipates in a sacramental way - "my Body given, my Blood poured out"- the sacrifice that he will consummate the following day on Calvary. Until now, God's covenant with his people was represented in the Passover lamb sacrificed on the altar of burnt offerings, in the banquet of the whole family at the Passover meal. Now, the Lamb slain is Christ himself: This is the new covenant in my Blood.... The Body of Christ is the new banquet that gathers all the brothers: Take and eat....
The Lord sacramentally anticipated in the Upper Room what he would accomplish the next day on the summit of Calvary: the immolation and offering of himself -Body and Blood- to the Father, as the sacrificed Lamb who inaugurates the new and definitive Covenant between God and mankind, and who redeems all from the slavery of sin and eternal death.
Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist to strengthen our weakness, to accompany our loneliness and as a foretaste of Heaven. At the gates of his Passion and Death, he ordered things so that this Bread would never be lacking until the end of the world. For Jesus, on that memorable night, gave his Apostles and their successors, the bishops and priests, the power to renew the miracle until the end of time: Do this in memory of me. Together with the Holy Eucharist, which is to last until the Lord comes,8 he institutes the ministerial priesthood.
Jesus remains with us forever in the Holy Eucharist, with a real, true and substantial presence. Jesus is the same in the Upper Room and in the Tabernacle. On that night the disciples enjoyed the sensitive presence of Jesus, who gave himself to them and to all men. We too, this evening, when we go to adore him publicly at the Monument, will meet him again; he sees us and recognizes us. We can speak to him as the Apostles did and tell him what excites us and worries us, and thank him for being with us, and accompany him remembering his loving dedication. Jesus is always waiting for us in the Tabernacle.