While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, Take and eat; this is my body. Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father. (Mt 26:26-29)
Jesus came to take away our sins. Matthew emphasizes this in the words of Jesus over the cup. While Mark and Luke have Jesus speak of his blood: shed on behalf of many, Matthew adds: for the forgiveness of sins."
At the beginning of Matthews Gospel the angel says to Joseph: You are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Now, toward the end of the Gospel, Jesus holds the cup and talks about the forgiveness of sins.
We are all sinners. There are times when weve sinned and we need the sacrament of penance. Most of the time, even though we havent broken our relationship with the Lord, weve still failed here and there. Weve sinned.
But the forgiveness of sins is one of the main purposes of Mass, as well. That is a comforting thought, and it needs more emphasis.
If I get credit for things I dont deserve, I must take heed. The Lord knows the truth.
Spend some quiet time with the Lord.
The Olive Tree
The Mount of Olives was so named because of the many olive trees, though they are not as plentiful today. Toward the bottom of the slope is a place with some very old olive trees, and from the fourth century this has been honored as the site of Gethsemane. Though none of these trees goes back to the time of Jesus, new olive trees sometimes grow from the roots of those whose trunk has fallen. Thus, the trees there could be connected with the trees that were there during the Agony in the Garden.
Palestines most common tree is the olive tree. The life expectancy of an olive tree is 500 years. Its beauty has long been extolled, and it was thought to have a mystical quality. The olive branch symbolized forgiveness, peace, happiness, and its branches were woven into crowns. In the story of Noah, the olive tree even survives the flood the dove from the ark returns with one of its branches.
One olive tree could yield up to 1,000 pounds of oil a year. The oil was used for cooking, fuel for lamps, a base for perfumes, medicinal applications, and ointment after a bath, or religions anointing.