Preaching through this Holy Week I have been reflecting on something to which I haven't ever given much thought, but is as obvious as could be: The Body of Christ we offer and receive in the Eucharist is the betrayed Body.
I think it must be divine law that every rectory dining room or refectory in a religious house has to display an image of the Last Supper. Often it is some derivation of Da Vinci's treatment, which is unfortunate. (I agree with one of my great teachers, Charles Merrill Smith, that it is "one of a great painter's dubious efforts.") We have just such a Last Supper in the dining room here. As I have written about before, it was a source of daily amusement for me when I first arrived because of the inscription below the image: Amen dico vobis quia unus vestrum me traditurus est. Of all the beautiful things Our Lord said at the Last Supper--'Love one another as I have loved you,' 'I am the vine, you are the branches,' etc.--someone decided that this was the particular line that the friars needed to hear. So there it was; each day as you were getting your mashed potatoes or whatever: "Amen I say to you that one of you will betray me."
Over time, though, I've gotten over my amusement and come to appreciate it. After all, am I not a betrayer of the Lord? Any of us who have sinned after our baptism have handed over the members of Christ we have become. In our distraction and ingratitude, we have failed to discern the members of the Body of Christ we have become, and, like Judas, have settled for less by handing our Christ-ened selves over to trifles and sins.
This illuminates the overwhelming gentleness and humility of Christ in the Eucharist. Jesus takes his Body 'given up,' the very betrayal itself, and transforms it into nourishment for us, his betrayers.