"Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." (Mk. 14:12-16, 22-26)
On this memorable day of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, reflect with me on what happened after the last supper. Yes, this is a critical comment in the sequence in the liturgy, "What he did at supper seated, Christ ordained to be repeated, His memorial never to cease." Yes, our focus today should be on the Body and Blood of Jesus.
However, what Jesus did afterward is equally important. Jesus and the disciples sang a song. They were doing what the sequence in the liturgy calls us to do, "Bring him all the praises you know, He is more than you bestow, never can you reach his due." Continuing with my reflection, I pondered on what hymn could touch the disciples' life as they made their departure to the Mount of Olives.
Several songs flooded my mind after reflecting on this passage from Mark's gospel "after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." Songs like, I know it was the Blood, I know it was the Blood for me. Unfortunately, even though this song touched many churchgoers in the Masses I attended, this song would not fit because Jesus was still alive. Then I thought about, Let us break bread together on our knees. Again, upon further reflection, I realized that this song would not work. Even though I like gathering and calling everyone together, this song came a long way after the death of Jesus. Repeatedly, all the songs I could think of were not appropriate until searching diligently through commentaries and footnotes, which guided me to the psalms.
The scholars suggested psalms 114-118, which are hymns of Thanksgiving. For some, psalm 118:24 may be recognizable, "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad." I encourage you to read all four psalms of Thanksgiving suggested by the scholars.
However, for me, Psalm 34:4 profoundly touched my life. The fourth verse said it all for me, "Magnify the LORD with me; and let us exalt his name together." In this verse, we have an invitation to magnify the Lord. My God is bigger than big. My magnifying God is my love for his goodness. Can you see Jesus standing and motioning to the disciples to praise God because of the New Covenant? Returning to the second part of the verse, the psalmist said, "let us exalt his name together." I get it. We must magnify the Lord and exalt his name together. Together with the disciples, we too witness a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit in Mark's gospel. When we gather for the Eucharist, we are giving thanks to God for the New Covenant. Oh, Magnify the Lord with me; this is the day the Lord has made. Let us all rejoice; it was the Blood that saved me. One day when I was lost, Jesus died on the cross. I know it was the Blood that saved me.
Taste and see that the LORD is good. (Ps. 34:9)
Authored: Evangelist Michael P. Howard, MACS