One of the disciples said to Jesus, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” The disciples wanted to know the answer to this question because it was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Jesus had not told them of his plans for the celebration. This feast commemorated the freedom of the Israelites when they had been slaves in Egypt.
Jesus put his hands on the shoulders of two of his friends and told them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water.
Follow him. Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” The two men left immediately. When they reached the city, they found a man carrying water, just as Jesus had said they would, and he brought them to the place where a room had been set up to serve them a meal.
By the time Jesus arrived with the rest of the disciples, it was night. The men enjoyed the meal and they talked about the miracles God had performed for their ancestors in ancient Israel. Then Jesus became very serious and said, “One of you will betray me.” The disciples became upset, and they all promised they would never do anything against Jesus. But Jesus said, “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him. But it would be better for that man if he had never been born.” The disciples wondered what Jesus meant by betrayal.
While his disciples were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and prayed over it. Then he gave a piece of the bread to each of his friends. “Take it,” he said to them, “this is my body.” The disciples ate the bread. Then he prayed over a cup of wine and shared that with his friends as well. “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
When Jesus and his disciples finished their supper they sang a hymn together. Then they went to the Mount of Olives, a high hill outside of Jerusalem.
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. What feast was being celebrated?
2. What did Jesus say about the bread and the wine?
Ephraem was born approximately 300 years after the life of Jesus to Christian parents. He lived in Syria while it was still under the occupation of the Romans. After being baptized, Ephraem served under the Bishop of Nisibis, Jacob.
After surviving three attacks on his homeland by the Persians, the city was given to the Persians as part of a peace agreement. When the Christians left the city, Ephraem made a home for himself in a cave. He lived simply, living on a diet of basic foods. But here he also applied himself to prayer and contemplation and writing based on his studies. He also wrote many hymns which were sung by the local Christians.
During a time of famine, Ephraem gave up his life of solitude to distribute food, supplies and money to people in need. Eventually he returned to his cave home, where he died a month later. We remember him on June 9.