This is a remarkably solemn and important moment. The last supper, the choosing of the first priests and above all Jesus giving his sacrifice on the cross, (the giving of himself, my body given up for you) to his Apostles so that they, his first priests, can make this sacrifice present for us every day in Holy Mass.
The priesthood and the mass, gifts given to us and received by us. Not ours by right, not our creation, not what we do, but something as St Paul says, which we have received and which we hand on.
With what solemnity St John introduces this moment, Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to his Father. He had always loved those who were his own in the world. And when the time came for him to be glorified he showed the depth of his love.
The wonderful, uncontainable, incomprehensible nature of that ‘depth of his love’ is brought home by a meditation upon the Eucharist itself. What we receive in Holy Communion, what is given to us, is Jesus, his body, his blood, his human soul, his divinity, nothing is kept back. He gives himself to us under the appearance of bread but it is only the appearance. It is not bread it is Jesus, true God and true Man. Jesus loving us, Jesus offering himself for us, Jesus in the glory of heaven, - it would make more sense not to say ‘what is Holy Communion?” but to say “who is Holy Communion?”
All the ceremonies are reduced this Easter but let us all remember who Holy Communion is, who is giving himself to us, who we are privileged to be entrusted with and reflect upon our response.