Jesus and the Jewish roots of the Eucharist

This book, written by Brant Pitre, seemed to come to me at a perfect time, the week before Holy Week began. I had been reading This is Our Church – The History of Catholicism by Michael Pennock, which is packed full of information, but it was starting to get a bit hard to read.

It was nice to take a break and read a quick book that is written in a more conversational tone. With both the timing, topic, and calendar aligning perfectly for me – all thanks to God – I was able to spend Holy Week devouring this book.

As I mentioned, the book is written in a very conversational tone with the author often saying things like “okay, but before we go to far, lets go back and review what we learned in chapter 4″, followed by a summary of the referenced chapter. That will be a lot of help to anyone that might only be able to read a chapter a week.

In the acknowledgements, the author explains that the book was based on a lecture he had given numerous times and I have no doubt that lent well to the quality and refinement of the published book.

As far as the content itself, some of it you may have heard before, some may expand on things you’ve heard before, and some things might be completely new to you, really all depending on your history and individual level of catechesis.

For me I was able to learn a lot of the Jewish traditions and teaching during the time of Jesus and the previous millennium. Also, the author draws the parallels between the actual Jewish expectations for the Messiah (which go far beyond the “military leader” I’d always been taught) and how Jesus actually delivered to those expectations perfectly – in the Eucharist.

Further, the author dissects the New Testament scriptures of the Last Supper in quite some detail, showing exactly how Jesus did, and did not, follow the Jewish Passover tradition at his final Passover.

What surprised me the most – following the author’s logic – was that Jesus did not truly “finish” that Passover meal until his last actions on the cross; although I’m sure others may, until I read this book I did not know the number or meaning of the cups of wine in a Jewish Passover meal, or what that would have in common with Jesus’s words “I thirst”.

All in all, I thought this was an amazing book, it was especially touching to me as I was able to read it during Holy week. I highly recommend it to everyone.