King Belshazzar gave a last supper for his friends (Dn 5:1). This banquet featured revelry, blasphemy, idolatry (Dn 5:4), insolence, pride (Dn 5:20), terror (Dn 5:9), betrayal (Dn 5:30), and finally, the death of the host (Dn 5:30).
King Jesus also gave a Last Supper for His friends (Lk 22:8ff). Like Belshazzar's banquet, this last supper also featured betrayal (Lk 22:21) and the death of the Host (Mt 26:31ff). However, Jesus' Last Supper featured selfless love (Lk 22:15), humble service (Jn 13:4ff), the Bread of Life, a new covenant in Jesus' blood (Lk 22:17-20), and praise of God (Mt 26:30).
Many of you in the USA will take part in a "great banquet" tomorrow at your Thanksgiving dinner. Like Belshazzar's last supper, some of these banquets may feature drunkenness, betrayal, pride, and even blasphemy. You may be ridiculed by members of your family (Lk 21:16), and even put "to trial" in some family conversations (Lk 21:12). Jesus, the Lord of banquets, says: "I bid you resolve not to worry about your defense beforehand, for I will give you words and a wisdom which none of your adversaries can take exception to or contradict" (Lk 21:14-15).
Prepare for tomorrow's banquet with today's Last Supper. Go to Mass today, tomorrow, and every day if possible. Receive the Eucharist, a word meaning "thanksgiving." Then your "Thanksgiving" dinner will be like Jesus' Last Supper, not Belshazzar's.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2005 through November 30, 2005.
†Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 21, 2005.