Now finally we get to the center of the First Eucharistic Prayer. It is the longest of the first three and is directly the most ancient; from the third or fourth century. The second and the shortest is based on the one used possibly during the first century. So in a certain sense it could be considered the most ancient. But this was not taken word for word. It was more of a summary of the ancient text. Imagine that: the words we pray are not just something we just slapped together. These are the words we prayed from ancient times. The saints of old lived by them, and some even died by them.
To remind us of the first martyr of our souls, Jesus, the ancient texts read: “On the day before he was to suffer”. This was that Holy Thursday night, when Jesus celebrated that first mass ever. It is an introduction to the reliving out of the event that happened 2000 years ago. It was that night when we learned to serve others by the washing of the feet. This service is the beginning of what it means to sacrifice. The lesson ends in the giving of one’s own life.
The text reads on- “he took bread in his holy and venerable hands”. God touched that bread! How Truly how holy and venerable those hands really are! How often in the world do we think of what is holy? Those are the hands that touched that bread. Simply by touching that bread with his hands would be enough to make it holy. But he did far more than touch that bread with physical hands. He prayed over them. He prays that same prayer over the bread on the altar today! He touches the bread in the same way today as he did that Thursday night and in all of ancient times.
It is through this ritual that “God is with us”. It is through this Eucharist that, Jesus!